Diagnosis, Symptoms, And Risk Factors Of Stem Cell Transplantation
Stem cells are the cells that our bodies make in the bone marrow. They are made to turn into any cell the body needs. Stem cells change into RBCs, WBCs, or blood platelets when fully grown. Stem cell replacement is a method in which healthy blood cells are given to a patient to replace the damaged stem cells that were caused by strong chemoradiation used to treat cancer.
Why Is A Stem Cell Transplant?
The bone marrow transplant includes the replacement of stem cells. This is done to replace the damaged stem cells and make it easier for the bone marrow to make new blood cells after conditioning or radiation therapy. After radiation therapy or conditioners, the body is exposed to many anti-cancer elements that kill cancer cells.
This process also affects the bone marrow, which loses its ability to make new blood cells. The immune system is weak at this point because the body isn’t making any white blood cells or stem cells. With a Stem Cell Transplant, the host (the patient) is given healthy stem cells that move to the bone marrow, make new blood cells, and boost the immune system’s ability to fight the remaining cancer cells that have been weakened by radiation.
Different Kinds Of Stem Cell Transplants:
Autologous Stem Cell Transplant
The patient’s blood cells are used in an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant to make new stem cells. In this process, the patient goes through “Cell mobilization,” which is a way to get the body to make more stem cells and get the stem cells to move from the marrow to the bloodstream.
The patient’s blood is then taken through a machine that separates the stem cells from the rest of the blood. Then, it is kept at temperatures below zero until it is needed. The rest of the patient’s blood is sent back to his or her body, and the chemotherapy treatment starts.
The strong radiation used in chemotherapy kills all cancer cells and the cells within the bone marrow that make blood. The biggest benefit of an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant is that there are no risks for the patient regarding Graft vs. Host Adoption.
Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation
The patient obtains stem cells from a donor. The transplant is done after the patient goes through conditioning treatment or chemotherapy. The stem cell-rich blood of a corresponding donor is put through a machine that separates the stem cells from the blood. The stem cells are then put into the body of the host.
After conditioning care and chemotherapy, the cells that make blood tend to be badly damaged, which makes the immune system weak.
For engraftment, the new stem cells from the donor are brought into the body. The new stem cells move to the bone marrow during this process and start making new blood cells.
Allogeneic stem cell transplants strengthen the host’s immune system because the new stem cells create a new immune system. The new blood cells also tend to be very good at getting rid of any remaining cancerous cells in the body. The name for this is the graft vs. tumor effect.
Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplants work when the HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) on the white blood cells are the same. Several HLA tests are done on donors to see if they are compatible. Most HLA matches come from:
- HLA-matched non-related donor
- HLA Mis-matched Family Member
- Not related to umbilical cord blood
- HLA-matched relatives (most often a sibling)
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant:
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant is a method of replacing damaged cells caused by radiation treatment with stem cells. This is done through an IV. Since the early 1960s, when it was first used, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant has been a common way to treat and cure cancer and autoimmune diseases. This method is often used to treat people with multiple sclerosis.
Peripheral blood stem transplant:
Peripheral blood stem transplant is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) used in autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants. In this method, stem cells are taken from the blood instead of where they come from, which is the bone marrow.
This method is less invasive and can be done at approved Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) centers. The blood in the bloodstream is the same as in the bone marrow. This process is chosen based on the type of disease, how bad it is, how old the patient is, and other factors.
Bone Marrow Transplant:
A bone marrow transplant is a way to replace the cells that the bone marrow constructs. They can turn into red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets or make more stem cells if needed. Some cancerous and noncancerous diseases affect the bone marrow, which means they also affect the stem cells being made.
In a transplant, the cells are taken from the bone marrow in an invasive procedure or put into the veins in a non-invasive procedure. Invasive bone marrow transplants are only suggested when the disease is a threat and the patient’s health and age support it.
Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant:
Cord blood stem cell transplant is a method that is being used more and more all over the world. The umbilical cord has a lot of stem cells, just like the blood and bone marrow. Cord blood stem cell transplants work best for treating children, but they also work well for adults. Graft vs. host disorder is much less likely to happen to a cord blood stem cell transplant patient.
Also, compared to the other types of Stem Cell Transplants, Cord blood Stem Cell Transplants are the least likely to spread diseases. Cord blood stem cells are also easier to keep alive because they last longer. Even though there isn’t a clear answer about how long cord stem cells last, they have been used successfully since 10 years ago.
Diseases And Conditions That Need Transplantation Of Stem Cells
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
- Aplastic anemia
- Autoimmune diseases
Dangers Of Stem Cell Transplants
Knowing the risks of Stem Cell Transplants is important because it helps both the doctors treating the patient and the patient decide on the best treatment.
The main risks of stem cell transplants are:
- Graft Vs. Host Syndrome
- Scaly, itchy skin and a rash
- Nausea, throwing up, and pain in the stomach
- Dry mouth, lungs, esophagus, and other organs that are damaged.
- Loss of hunger
- Lose weight
- Cataracts and infertility
Finding A Donor
Finding a stem cell transplant donor is often a long and difficult process. Only 3 out of 10 unrelated donors and 5 out of 10 related donors are a good match. The patient getting a stem cell transplant is the top priority since his or her stem cells are not likely to be accepted by the body after the transplant in GVHS.
Nevertheless, the medical team will test whether you are a suitable donor depending on your weight, general health, the severity of your ailment, and the rate at which your current stem cells are impacted.
When looking for an HLA-matched donor, siblings are often thought to be the next best option. Siblings have a better chance of being a good HLA match for a stem cell allogeneic transplant because their HLA is made up of genes from their biological parents. The search for a donor begins when siblings don’t have the same HLA.
Stem cells or umbilical cords that match the HLA of the patient are found by looking through the cells in the storage facility. Also, people who sign up to be Stem Cell Transplant volunteers are consulted to see if they might be a good match again for a procedure.