Ever wondering what has been the latest when it comes to medical procedures? One of the breakthroughs when it comes to transplantation is the stem cell transplant. You may still not be aware o the procedure but it actually has a lot of benefits when it comes to serving as a treatment for various types of diseases. You must be able to understand what the procedure is all about together with how a stem cell transplant is done.
What Are Stem Cells? What Are Their Functions?
You might be wondering what stem cells are actually doing to your body and why they are important. Stem cells are actually very important because as replacement for the bone marrow not having its normal function, they serve to facilitate continuous production of necessary blood cells for the body. The bone marrow is the one responsible for the production of the blood cells in our body and they must fulfill their function continuously. Stem cells can greatly help in times when the bone marrow ceases to perform its normal functioning.
Some diseases which can greatly benefit from the stem cells include different kinds of anemia and one of which is aplastic anemia, a condition wherein the bone marrow produces blood cells which are not enough to support the bodys different processes. Stem cell can also help in critical diseases like cancer especially the cancer of the blood cells known as leukemia. In this case, once the stem cells are given to the person, it can already stimulate the growth of normal blood cells thus stopping the progress of the said disease. Together with stopping the activity of the cancerous cells, the stem cells can also eventually kill them.
By incorporation of fresh stem cells in the body, you could be able to produce the right amount of red blood cells to keep your blood volume, the right amount of white blood cells to be able to fight infections and the right amount of platelets to prevent your body from excessive bleeding. These show that stem cells can actually be a great prevention and protection for your body against different life threatening conditions and dangerous diseases. Regardless of the type of disease, whether cancerous or non cancerous, stem cells can definitely be very beneficial.
Looking Into The Process: Stem Cell Transplant
The stem cell transplant involves the introduction of fresh stem cells into the human body. Humans have their own stem cells but there will be times when they will degenerate and eventually they cannot function normally anymore. This transplant is indicated for those persons whose bone marrow is having problems especially when it comes to the functioning. If there is a problem with the bone marrow, normal stem cells are not produced and the body will be deprived of such supply.
When it comes to how a stem cell transplant is done, you could be able to realize that it involves several simple procedures that are taken to ensure appropriate transfer of stem cells to the body. It is an effective way of replenishing the body with its needed stem cells for blood cell production. Stem cell transplant is also known for other names such as bone marrow transplant or even umbilical cord transplant. They are given such names because it is based upon where the stem cells that will be used for transfer are acquired. The usual source of the stem cells for people is the bone marrow but during childbirth, the umbilical cord can also be considered as a great source of stem cells. The latter is even more preferred due to the fact that it is considered fresher thus having more effective function since it came from a newborn.
In your query about how the stem cell transplant is done, these are some of the steps involved. Stem cell transplant is done by acquiring the source for the stem cell that will be used in the procedure. First of all, before it is acquired, especially if it is from a donor, it must be made sure that it is truly compatible to the patient so that transplant rejection can be prevented. This can cause a lot of different complications to the patient if not properly acted upon. The stem cells can be transferred to the body of the patient be through the intravenous line which can be comparable to that of a blood transfusion procedure. Once they are successfully placed inside the body, it will be readily activated to produce new healthy blood cells.
The Types Of Stem Cell Transplant
Aside from these classifications, the stem cell transplant can also be conducted based on two other methods or procedures. First of all there is the allogenic kind of stem cell transplant. In this type, the stem cell will have to originate from a very compatible donor to the patient. Being compatible, the donor is preferred to be a sibling to maintain the safety of the procedure and prevent transplant rejections. A volunteer donor can also be allowed as the source of the stem cells but then it must be made sure that their stem cells are truly matching with the patient. Tissue typing is necessary to detect the compatibility of the donor and the patients stem cells.
On the other hand, there is also what is known as the autologous stem cell transplant. This means that the stem cells will have to originate from other parts of the body by the patient himself or herself. The stem cells will be harvested from the patients body and preserved properly by freezing for use in the said procedure. One example of this involves patients with cancer. The stem cells are properly acquired and are prepared for use after the chemotherapy or radiation procedure of the patient. This is done to make sure that the drugs which are highly active will not destroy or damage the stem cells and will not cause any further problems to the patients blood cell production. Once the cancer treatment is done, the acquired stem cells are brought back into the body. This type of stem cell transplant can be done several times as long as the doctors realize the need for it and as long as cancer cells are still actively present.
These are just some of the details when it comes to how a stem cell transplant is done. It is considered to be one of the breakthroughs in medical practice that can definitely be the hope for different kinds of diseases, even the life threatening ones like cancer.