Bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a therapy used to treat conditions such as leukemia and immune disorders by replacing damaged marrow with healthy cells. The marrow, which is found inside bones, produces blood cells that are crucial for the immune system. BMT aims to cure diseases that have been damaged by intense chemotherapy or radiation by using various types of transplant. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that there are different types of BMT, depending on the donor. Autologous BMT involves using the patient’s own stem cells, while allogeneic BMT uses stem cells from a genetically matched donor, often a sibling. Unrelated bone marrow transplants involve genetically matched marrow or stem cells from an unrelated donor, and umbilical cord blood transplants use stem cells from the umbilical cord immediately after delivery.
Although BMT offers hope for many patients, there are potential complications. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major concern, where the new marrow attacks the recipient’s body, leading to issues such as skin rashes, digestive problems, and liver complications. Infections are also a significant risk due to the temporary weakening of the immune system. Fatigue is common, and careful monitoring and supportive care are necessary to manage these complications. There is also the risk of rejection, where the body may reject the transplanted marrow, necessitating adjustments in the treatment plan. Understanding and addressing these complexities is crucial for a successful and smooth recovery from bone marrow transplant.