BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT FOR CHILDREN: THE TREATMENT PLAN FOR BONE MARROW CANCER AND OTHER DISEASES
Bone marrow transplant is the treatment plan of choice if your child has cancer or an immune disease that affects the bone marrow. Indeed, words like “leukemia” and “non-Hodgkin lymphoma” can be painfully linked to children with cancer.
As a responsible parent, you should be well informed about the therapeutic options available, with their benefits and risks included.
So, the first step is to fully understand the disease and the stem cell transplant process.
WHAT IS THE BONE MARROW?
The bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside the bones. It specializes in producing special cells called hematopoietic stem cells (blood stem cells) that can turn into different types of blood cells.
Blood stem cells can also be found in the blood that is moving throughout your body. But its origin is in the bone marrow.
Stem cells are unique cells that can make copies of themselves and also change into different types of cells that your body needs. The rest of our body cells are differentiated and can only make copies of themselves.
However, blood stem cells are unspecialized and can turn into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
These blood cells are essential, and each one has a different role:
- Red blood cellsare responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body.
- White blood cellsare the core of the immune system.
- Plateletsare the blood cells that form clots to stop bleeding.
WHAT IS A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
A bone marrow transplant also called stem cell transplant, replaces diseased blood cells with healthy ones within the bone marrow.
The replacement cells can come from your child’s own body or a matching donor (parent, sibling, or unrelated volunteer).
Written by Dr Osama Bahsas Zaky
Updated on September 9, 2021