Cancer is a deadly disease which is the top cause of death world-wide. It is caused due to an uncontrolled growth and proliferation of abnormal cells in a specific part of the body. The cancer cells can invade and deform or decay surrounding healthy and important cells, including organs and tissues or muscles. It can also spread from the primary site to other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis.
The causative agent or factor may be toxic substance like tobacco-smoke, biological, environmental, genetic, or lifestyle-related factors etc. The disease becomes severe if the causative agent successfully overpowers our immune system.
It is also known as peripheral blood cell transplant. In stem cell cancer treatment, the doctor uses transplanted ‘stem cells’ to treat certain types of cancers. Cancers like myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma can be treated through this process.
Stem cells are biological cells from which various different specialized cells of the body can be generated. They are produced in the bone marrow. They have the capacity to differentiate into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Stem cells help a person to grow and survive. They can be extracted from a donor or from your own blood.
Stem cells may be derived from several sources:
Bone marrow is a part of our bones that makes new blood cells. Marrow is the soft, spongy tissue that is found inside the bones. It generates stem cells also known as hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells have the power to develop more blood cells or several other types of cells.
Thus a stem cell transplant-
Stem cell transplants can be classified into two types:
This transplant is conducted using your own stem cells. It is commonly used for the treatment of myeloma and lymphoma. This reduces to chances of rejection of donor’s cells or the possibility of graft-versus-host disease. The process can be quicker with fewer side-effects.
How It Works: The doctor collects, freezes and stores your own stem cells. The desired treatment of chemotherapy or radiotherapy is then administered. Following that, stem cells are then thawed and transplanted back into you. It is called as a tandem or double autologous stem cell transplant. It sometimes needs to be performed more than once.
In this transplant, the stem cells are sourced from a donor. Allogenic stem cell transplant is found to work in cases of leukemia, aggressive lymphomas and autologous transplants that have failed.
How It Works: Stem cells are retrieved from a donor. These stem cells are matched with the patient to check anomalies if any. Post that, the patient undergoes the desired treatment of chemotherapy or radiation therapy which is followed by infusing the donor stem cells into the patient through an IV line.
They depend on the type and strength of high-dose treatment given to the patient. Commonly observed side effects are:
Undergoing a stem cell transplant can be a cumbersome process. You need to constantly monitor your blood levels and keep a check on your general health. High side-effects are observed when your blood count is least. As your blood count gradually improves, the side-effects also reduce. Your doctor discharges you from the hospital once your blood count reaches a safe level.
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