How Bone Marrow Transplants Use Stem Cells - Stem Cell Centers, Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy
Paper with the word "cancer" surrounded by various shots, medicines and medical tools
Stem Cell Cancer Therapy
April 26, 2018
A doctor injecting a stem cell solution into a patient
Deciding to Try Stem Cell Therapy
May 16, 2018
Board that says "bone marrow transplant"

Board that says "bone marrow transplant"

Did you know that stem cells are used to treat bone marrow disorders and diseases? Patients often receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill cancer cells in their bodies. However, this also kills a person’s stem cells and other vital cells. Cancer patients can receive bone marrow transplants from others to place bone marrow and stem cells in their bodies that were lost. Find out how this process works and the types of bone marrow transplants that patients receive.

 

The Commonness of Cancer

It seems that more and more these days you hear the word “cancer”. But just how common is it?

  • Cancer is one of the leading causes of death according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • 38.4% of people will get cancer at some point in their life.
  • Cancer mortality is more common with men than with women.
  • This year alone, statistics estimate that around 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed.
  • The most common cancers are breast cancer, lung/bronchus cancer, prostate, colon/rectum, melanoma of the skin, bladder, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney, renal, endometrial, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, thyroid and liver cancer.
  • Around 3,500 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with bone cancer, most likely in the bone marrow.

 

Bone Marrow Cancer

Many patients with cancer seek out treatment from chemotherapy and radiation treatment to kill off cancer cells. However, if you’ve known someone with cancer, you may also see that these treatments harm the patient while killing cancer cells. Bone cancers can be quite serious in the patients who have them. Tumors can grow in the bones themselves or they can start in the bones and then branch out into other parts of the body. Bone marrow cancer is common in patients and this type of cancer is commonly known as “leukemia”. There are other bone marrow cancers, but this is the most common one.

 

Inside your bones is s soft, spongy substance called bone marrow. Your bones are not solid throughout, as many people think, but are filled with this bone marrow. You may be surprised to know that your bone marrow is what actually makes your blood cells. You have hematopoietic stem cells in your bones, which are blood-forming cells. These cells divide constantly to make the blood cells your body needs to survive. The National Cancer Institute reports that these cells create white blood cells, which help fight infections. They also make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body and platelets, which help your wounds clot. Bone marrow is vital to sustaining life because of the blood cells it supplies the body.

 

Internal image of bone marrow in a person's leg that is a digital image

Bone Marrow Transplants with Stem Cells

If you have bone cancer—especially cancer in your bone marrow—you have to rigorously fight off the cancer cells. However, radiation therapy and chemotherapy kill off cancer cells, but they also kill off your bone marrow stem cells. You need those cells to continue making your blood cells. Thus, bone marrow transplants were created to help replenish a patient’s blood-forming stem cell supply.

 

If you know about stem cells, then you know that they are cells you are born with and the ones responsible for helping repair the body. Every person is born with a certain amount of stem cells. When you are injured, your body signals stem cells to follow your blood platelets to the site of injury. Your platelets clot your wound, while stem cells start turning into the type of tissue your body needs to patch itself. Stem cells are the only type of cell that can turn into any other type of cell (except those that support a fetus). However, you only have so many stem cells during your life, and production slows down the more you age.

 

A cancer patient is going through such intense therapy to kill off cancer cells, that it would be extremely difficult to build their stem cell supply back up to make more blood cells. However, receiving stem cells via bone marrow transplants can provide a quick dose of new stem cells that can help a patient’s bone marrow produce blood cells once more.

 

Word map that says "stem cells" and many other words relating to it

Types of Bone Marrow Transplants

There are various types of bone marrow transplants, just like there are various kinds of bone cancers. The transplant differs depending on where and how a patient is receiving cells. There are 3 main types of bone marrow transplants that involve stem cells:

  • Autologous Transplants: These are stem cells from your own body. Your doctor will extract your stem cells and freeze them. Then, after chemotherapy and other cancer therapies, your own stem cells will be given back to you. This is done through your blood via a tube placed in your vein.
  • Allogeneic Transplants: These are bone marrow transplants that are given by someone related to you or by someone that have similar bone marrow. You want to receive a transplant with someone that has similar blood and bone marrow so that your body can accept their stem cells and use them.
  • Syngeneic Transplants: In rare cases, a cancer patient will have a twin. This transplant is when a twin donates their stem cells to the twin with cancer.

These are the main types of bone marrow transplants. However, it is possible to use stem cells from donated umbilical cords and other donor sources for cancer treatments.

 

Stem Cell Therapy for Better Health

Just like stem cells are used to help cancer patients heal, they are also used to help the everyday patient overcome chronic aches and pains, injuries and more. Stem cell therapy can be used for athletes, people with chronic conditions, cancers, and more. This therapy is a natural solution to help your body with its natural capabilities to heal. To find out how we use stem cells at our center, call Stem Cell Centers today at (877) 808-0016!