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What Is Bone Marrow Transplant (Stem Cell Transplant)?

Bone marrow transplantation (stem cell transplantation) is a treatment method that has achieved successful results in the treatment of many diseases today and has a very important place in the medical world. This method is seen as a ray of hope, especially in life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Bone marrow transplantation is the process of transplanting the patient’s own stem cells or stem cells of a suitable donor into the patient. In this way, the patient’s immune system is restructured and the disease is treated. In this article we have written for you, we will discuss topics such as what is bone marrow transplantation, in which diseases it is applied and how the collection of cells is carried out during the transplantation process.

What Is Bone Marrow Transplantation?

Bone marrow transplantation is the process of transplanting the patient’s own stem cells (autologous transplantation) or stem cells of a suitable donor (allogeneic transplantation) to the patient. Bone marrow is a tissue where red and white blood cells and platelets are produced and are considered the center of the body’s immune system. With bone marrow transplantation, the patient’s immune system is reconstructed and the disease is treated.

In Which Diseases Is Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplantation Applied?

Bone marrow transplantation is especially applied in the treatment of the following diseases;

  • Acute and chronic leukemia (blood cancer),
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes),
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells),
  • Aplastic anemia (insufficient functioning of the bone marrow),
  • Thalassaemia (a structural disorder of red blood cells),
  • Sickle cell anemia (malformation of red blood cells),
  • Some autoimmune diseases (for example, lupus),
  • Immunodeficiency syndromes (for example, SCID),

How Are The Cells Collected In Bone Marrow Transplantation (Stem Cell Transplantation)?

Stem cells to be used in bone marrow transplantation can be collected from the donor or the patient himself/herself. The collection of stem cells is usually performed by the following methods:

  • Bone marrow aspiration: In this method, bone marrow samples are taken from the donor’s hip bone with a special needle. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and takes about 1 hour.
  • Peripheral blood stem cell collection (apheresis): In this method, blood taken from the donor’s arms is passed through a machine to separate the stem cells, and the remaining blood is returned to the donor. Before the procedure, medication is administered to increase the donor’s stem cell count. Apheresis usually takes 3-4 hours and can be repeated over several days.
  • Cord blood stem cell collection: In this method, blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby is rich in stem cells and these cells can be transplanted to suitable patients. Cord blood stem cell collection is performed immediately after birth and does not involve any risk.

How Is Bone Marrow Transplant (Stem Cell Transplant) Performed?

Bone marrow transplantation, also known as stem cell transplantation, is a treatment method used for various types of cancer, blood diseases and immune system disorders. Bone marrow contains stem cells that help the body to produce healthy blood cells again. A bone marrow transplant can be performed using the patient’s own stem cells (autologous transplant) or stem cells from another person (allogeneic transplant).

The bone marrow transplantation process includes the following steps;

Donor selection; The source of the stem cells to be transplanted is determined. This can be the patient’s own stem cells, related donors, or a compatible donor from international bone marrow databases.

Preparation; High-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy is applied to prepare the patient for bone marrow transplantation. These treatments help to kill cancer cells or diseased blood cells in the patient’s body and make room for the bone marrow transplant.

Stem cell collection; The process of collecting stem cells from the donor is performed. This is usually done by peripheral stem cell collection, which is similar to a blood donation process, or less commonly by bone marrow collection, where stem cells are taken from the donor’s hip bone.

Stem cell infusion; The collected stem cells are introduced into the patient’s bloodstream. Stem cells settle in the patient’s bone marrow and start the production of new and healthy blood cells.

What Are Rhe Stages of Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplantation?

The bone marrow transplantation process consists of the following stages;

  • The patient’s suitability for transplantation is assessed and a treatment plan is created.
  • The process of finding a suitable donor is carried out.
  • The patient’s body is prepared for transplantation. At this stage, high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy is applied.
  • Stem cells are collected from the donor.
  • The collected stem cells are administered into the patient’s bloodstream.
  • The process of stem cells settling in the patient’s bone marrow and producing new blood cells and the improvement of the patient’s health status is followed.
  • Necessary support and follow-up are provided for the patient to cope with the problems and complications experienced in the post-transplant process.

What Are The Problems That Can Be Seen After Bone Marrow Transplantation (stem cell transplantation)?

Some problems that may be encountered after bone marrow transplantation are as follows;

  • Since the immune system of patients weakens in the post-transplant period, the risk of infection increases.
  • GVHD, a complication seen in allogeneic transplants, occurs when donor stem cells attack the patient’s healthy tissues.
  • High-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause damage to organs.
  • The risk of bleeding and anemia increases after bone marrow transplantation.
  • It is possible for the disease to recur and become resistant to treatment.
  • Late effects such as hormonal imbalances, infertility, and secondary cancers may occur in the post-transplant period.

In the post-bone marrow transplant period, it is important for patients to follow the recommendations of their doctors and have regular controls for the early detection of possible problems and a successful recovery process.

What Are The Types of Bone Marrow?

Bone marrow is defined as soft, spongy tissue in the human body where blood cells are produced. Bone marrow is a center where blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are continuously produced. These cells fulfill important functions of the body, such as transporting oxygen, fighting infections, and clotting the blood. Bone marrow is divided into two main types: red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow.

  1. Red Bone Marrow

The red bone marrow is the site where hematopoietic stem cells are continuously transformed into blood cells and where blood cells are produced. The red bone marrow is usually found inside flat and long bones. It is particularly dense in bones such as the spine, ribs, skull, pelvis, and sternum. Red bone marrow gets its name from the large number of blood cells and blood vessels in it. The red bone marrow is responsible for the production of the following cells:

  • Red blood cells (erythrocytes),
  • White blood cells (leukocytes),
  • Platelets (cytoplasmic particles),
  1. Yellow Bone Marrow

Yellow bone marrow is a type of bone marrow that consists mainly of fat cells and serves as energy storage. It is found in the center of long bones (diaphragm) and on the outside of flat bones. Yellow bone marrow is named after the yellow color of the fat cells (adipocytes). Compared to red bone marrow, yellow bone marrow is less active in blood cell production. However, it uses fat cells to meet the body’s energy needs and can turn into red bone marrow in cases of injury or infection.

In short, bone marrow is divided into two main types: red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow. Red bone marrow is the site where blood cells are produced and where cells are found that fulfill important functions of the body, such as oxygen transport, immunity and blood clotting. Yellow bone marrow is a less active type of bone marrow that is used for energy storage. Both types of bone marrow are important for the healthy functioning of the human body.

Bone Marrow Transplant Treatment Prices in Turkey

Turkey has managed to announce its name to the world with its investments and studies in the field of health. Especially the latest technological devices used in diagnosis and treatment procedures have been a beacon of hope for many diseases. However, there has been an increase in health tourism in Türkiye.

  • Hospitals are large, clean, spacious and fully equipped in terms of technological equipment.
  • Turkish doctors are specialized, successful, and skilled in their fields.
  • Nurses and carers are friendly and compassionate.
  • Finding answers to the questions asked quickly and accurately.
  • Patience and understanding of all staff, including the intermediary company dealing with the patient.
  • Turkey offers holiday opportunities with its natural and historical beauties.
  • Easy transportation.
  • Diagnosis, treatment, accommodation, eating, drinking, dressing, and holiday needs can be met at affordable prices.

Such situations are shown among the reasons for preference. We can see that patients and relatives of patients who want to come to Turkey are doing research on the prices of bone marrow transplant treatment in Turkey. However, it would not be right to give clear price information at this stage. Many factors such as the type of disease, stage, diagnosis process, treatment process, and stay in Türkiye affect the price issue. If you want to get more detailed price information, you can contact us. In addition, if you come to Turkey for treatment through us, we can facilitate your visa application process with the invitation letter sent by us to the consulate.

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