Your body can turn back into stem cells. This is what happens when you take a bone marrow transplant and your blood-forming cells are replaced.
Once all of your blood-forming cells have been replaced, your body is no longer dependent on stem cells to make blood cells, and you can begin to make other cells.
How long does it take for stem cell transplant to work?
The success of a bone marrow transplant depends on how well your body responds to the transplant. For a bone marrow transplant, the body’s immune system must be able to handle the attack of transplanted cells. The immune system must also recognize the donor cells as “self.”
If your body does not have enough time to respond to the transplanted cells, your body will not accept the cells.
One study found that the chance of a graft-versus-host reaction (GVHR) is higher with a bone marrow transplant than with a cord blood transplant.
How long does a stem cell transplant take?
The average time from transplant to complete recovery is about 3 months.
The recovery time varies from person to person. There are many factors that affect how long it takes for your body to recover from a transplant.
The most important factor is the type of transplant that you get.
For example, a T cell transplant may take longer to recover than an HSCT from an unrelated donor.
In a mixed transplant, the immune system needs to handle the attack of both the donor and the recipient’s cells. This makes the recovery time longer.
Your doctor may also want to see if you have any problems that may be caused by the transplant.
For example, if you have a blood disorder that’s caused by an immune system attack, your doctor may want to watch you for signs of GVHR.
If you don’t have any other problems, the recovery time should be relatively short.
The recovery time also depends on how your body responds to the transplant.
Your doctor will work with you to make sure that your body can handle the transplant and that it doesn’t cause problems.
How is a stem cell transplant done?
Bone marrow transplants are done in a hospital, and the procedure usually takes place under general anesthesia.
In some cases, especially in children, a bone marrow transplant may be done in an outpatient procedure.
Before the transplant
In preparation for a bone marrow transplant, you may need an infusion of a chemotherapy drug to kill your immune system.
Depending on the type of transplant that you get, you may also need to have blood tests to check your blood counts, kidney function, and blood cell counts.
If your bone marrow is being replaced, you may also need to have a blood test to make sure that your blood counts are within normal limits.
During a bone marrow transplant
Your doctor will give you medicine to help you relax during the surgery. You may also be given anesthesia to make you sleepy.
The procedure for a bone marrow transplant is usually done at the hospital in the hospital’s transplant unit.
First, your doctor will take a sample of your blood. This is usually done by taking a small sample of blood from an artery in your arm.
Then, they will flush out the bone marrow so that the cells can be put back in. The bone marrow is usually flushed with a special fluid called bone marrow stem cell rescue.
The procedure for a bone marrow transplant is usually done in the following steps:
- Your doctor will clean your skin with a special solution.
- They will take a small sample of your blood from your arm.
- They will flush out the bone marrow.
- They will put all of the bone marrow stem cells back into your body.
After the transplant
After your bone marrow transplant, you may have to stay in the hospital for a few days. You will be given antibiotics to prevent infections and pain medicines to relieve any pain and other discomfort.
You will also need to take antibiotics to prevent an infection called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
You’ll be given medicines to help prevent GVHD. In severe cases, you may need to take medicines to make sure that your liver is working properly.
You’ll also need to have blood tests done to check your blood counts and kidney function.
You’ll be kept in the hospital until your body has completely recovered. You may need to stay in the hospital for about a month after your bone marrow transplant.
You’ll generally be able to go home once you have recovered at least 50 percent of the blood cells in your blood.
Your doctor will let you know when you can leave the hospital.
How long does a stem cell transplant last?
The length of time that a stem cell transplant lasts depends on the type of transplant that you receive.
If you get a T cell transplant, it will last from about 3 months to a year.
If you get a stem cell transplant from a matched unrelated donor (MUD), it will last from about 3 months to 1 year.
If your body responds well to the transplant, it should last at least 2 years.
However, if you do have GVHD, which is a form of GVHR, it will last longer.
A GVHD occurs when your body attacks the donor cells. The attack can cause the donor cells to disappear from your body.
If this happens, the immune system may not be able to recognize the donor cells as “self.” This is called GVHD.
It can cause your body to attack the donor cells more than it would attack the cells that were transplanted. This can make your body more likely to attack the donor cells.
If it happens, the attack can cause GVHD to develop.
GVHD can cause you to have a higher chance of getting infections. For example, the symptoms of GVHD may make it harder for you to fight off infections that are common during your transplant.
GVHD can also cause you to have a higher chance of developing other problems. This is because the attack of the donor cells can cause your body to attack the donor cells more than it would attack the cells that were transplanted.
There are many ways to make stem cells.
Some methods are better than others. For example, bone marrow donation is the only method that has a high success rate.
Images by Freepik
Geneated by AI