How is a Patient Prepared for a Stem Cell Transplant ?
Before a stem cell transplant, several tests are performed to assess the overall health and condition of the patient. In addition to these tests, an intravenous catheter may be surgically inserted into a main vein in your chest, up towards your neck. During the duration of the treatment, this catheter will be used for chemotherapy, to infuse the stem cells, for any blood transfusions and even for providing nutrition.
Once the tests have been performed and the intravenous catheter has been inserted, the conditioning session begins. This involves high-dose chemotherapy and total body irradiation (TBI), which are performed in order to destroy the damaged stem cells and suppress the immune system (so as to reduce the chances of stem cell rejection).
The type of conditioning process administered to the patient generally depends upon her overall health, type of disease and the type of stem cell transplant therapy selected for her. Irrespective of the type, the conditioning process is typically associated with numerous side effects, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Mouth ulcers
- Increased risk of organ failure
- Premature menopause
- Development of secondary cancer
Cord Blood Cell Transplant in India
Stem cells have a remarkable capability to divide persistently and differentiate into different types of cells present in our body. From red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to bone, cartilage, fibrous connective tissue, and fat, stem cells have the ability to form each and every type of cell present in the body. Although stem cells can be produced in other ways, in adults, bone marrow is the primary source of stem cells.
At times, certain cancers, diseases or disorders can cause bone marrow to stop performing thir normal functions. As a result, adequate numbers of healthy stem cells are not released into the body thereby preventing the formation and production of new and healthy blood cells. With the loss of healthy blood cells comes the body’s inability to protect itself from various types of infections and diseases. In such a scenario, a stem cell transplant becomes essential.
What are the Different Types of Stem Cell Transplant ?
Stem cell transplant can be divided into three types : –
- Autologous stem cell transplant : –, in which healthy stem cells are retrieved from the individual’s body and given back to him.
- Allogeneic stem cell transplant : –, where stem cells given to the patient are either donated by an immediate family member or an unrelated person.
- Syngeneic stem cell transplant : –, whereby stem cells come from the identical twin of the patient.
Besides these three basic types of stem cell transplant, two other types of stem cell transplant exist. However, they are still in the clinical trail stage.
- Tandem autologous transplant : –, where the patient undergoes two autologous stem cell transplant within a span of six months.
- Mini allogeneic (nonmyeloablative) stem cell transplant : –, in which the patient undergoes a less intense conditioning process before an allogenic stem cell transplant.
Additionally, adults receiving an allogeneic cord blood stem cell transplant have the unique option of using stem cells from two different donors. While this method is not widely practiced, it has been used successfully in a handful of stem cell transplants