Involving receiving high-dose chemotherapy followed by previously collected bone marrow, Autologous Bone Marrow Transplants are normally given to eliminate cancer in the body. Infusion of new bone marrow through transplant or peripheral blood stem cells so as to replace destroyed bone marrow by chemotherapy of radiation therapy is an essential part of this procedure. Potential candidates for Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant generally have germ cell cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, Amyloidosis, multiple myeloma, lymphoma or certain other types of leukemia.
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant or rescue is a type of transplant which uses the patient’s own stem cells which were collected in advance only to be returned at a later stage. These are bone marrow cells are meant to be used so as to replace damaged stem cells which have been damaged by high doses of chemotherapy which has been applied to treat underlying diseases.
Autologous transplants are generally used to treat a variety of different blood cancers like osteosarcoma, testicular cancer, breast cancer, certain solid tumors, leukemias like lymphoma & myeloma & others. These normally are treatments which allow use of high-dose chemotherapy so as to provide better chances of cure or long-term control of disease. While most patients have single autologous transplant, some others particularly suffering from myeloma or some solid tumors, may need to have two or more sequential autologous transplants over a period of few months.
Stem cells are collected directly from bloodstream in most cases. A combination of chemotherapy & a growth factor drug called Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) which stimulates growth cells are used to expand number of stem cells in bone marrow which cause them to spill out into blood circulation. Subsequently stem cells can be collected from a vein by passing blood through a special machine known as cell separator in a procedure which is quite similar to dialysis. This machine returns rest of the blood to circulation after separation & collection of stem cells. These stem cells are further processed, frozen & stored until the scheduled time of autologous transplant. This stem cell collection procedure is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure in hospitals.
Very high-dose chemotherapy sometimes accompanied by radiotherapy is given in the week leading to autologous transplant. This is called conditioning therapy & is basically meant to destroy the underlying disease for cancer. Subsequently, the stored stem cells are thawed & re-infused through veins back into the patient’s bloodstream in a process which is quite similar to blood transfusion. These stem cells make way into bone marrow from here, get re-established & start producing new blood cells.
Blood counts dramatically drop in the week following conditioning therapy. Being more at risk of infections & bleeding during this time is normal. Antibiotics & other medications are commonly prescribed so as to help prevent & treat infections during this period. Platelet transfusions are also given in order to reduce risk of bleeding. Red blood cell transfusions are also given when hemoglobin levels are low. Some common side effects of chemotherapy & radiotherapy like mucositis, vomiting, nausea & bowel problems including diarrhea are likely to be experienced. When blood counts begin to rise & patients otherwise feel well, are they allowed discharge from hospital. However, they will need to regularly come to clinic or hospital to check blood counts & progress. This can take a few months for immune system to recover after autologous bone marrow transplant. It would therefore be sensible to take precautions & prevent infection during this time.
Most side effects of autologous bone marrow transplant are generally caused by conditioning therapy & are temporary & reversible. Other long-term side effects of conditioning therapy include fertility problems affecting ability to have babies in future & early onset of menopause at young age. Doctors will discuss these expected side-effects & help patients take steps to reduce or prevent them.
Success of transplant will however depend upon a number of factors including stage & type of disease, age & general health. Despite advancements in procedure, many people experience relapse of original disease following autologous transplant. Subsequent treatments may include more chemotherapy and/or another autologous transplant or drugs to stimulate immune system so as to fight disease. Generally, it takes between 3 – 6 months to fully recover after autologous transplant. It is important for patients to take physical & emotional care during this period of time.
India is an excellent destination to undergo affordable Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant procedure. IndianMedTrip is associated with top surgeons & transplant hospitals so as to give you high quality low cost treatments options for osteosarcoma, testicular cancer, breast cancer, certain solid tumors, leukemias like lymphoma & myeloma & others. Dedicatedly focused IndianMedTrip services include a warm reception, comfortable travel, outstanding selection of healthcare facilities, relaxing retreats for recuperation & many more facilities associated with your medical travel.