In autologous stem cell transplant, the patient’s own blood stem cells are collected and stored. Meantime, the patient is treated with high doses of anti-cancer treatments combined with chemotherapy and sometimes with radiotherapy to destroy cancerous cells. However, during the procedure the person’s own stem cells are destroyed. The stored stem cells are the transplanted to restore normal blood production and ensure bone marrow treatment.
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Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the immune system. There are two types of lymphomas, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The major symptom of lymphoma is the enlargement of lymph nodes that do not disappear as it is in the case of infections. Lymphoma treatment is possible with an autologous stem cell transplant.
An autologous stem cell transplant for lymphoma helps to restore the normal functioning of blood production by using the person’s own stem cells. A spongy type of substance in your bones, called bone marrow, helps making blood cells that include white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
Your blood cells die and are replaced by new blood cells throughout your life. When lymphoma (a type of cancer) attacks your bone marrow, it loses its ability to produce normal blood cells, thus affecting the immune system. Lymphoma treatment procedures like chemotherapy or radiation, or a combination of both helps to destroy the cancerous cells, thus restoring the function of the stem cells. However, in the process, the stem cells (also called bone marrow) are completely damaged. Therefore, a bone marrow transplant is required to restore production of blood cells.
The term ‘’Autologous’’ means ‘’coming from you’’. Autologous stem cell transplant involves collecting your own stem cells and storing them separately. After the administration of high-dose of anti-cancer treatment, the stored stem cells are given back to you. This is more likely to treat lymphoma and make the remission last longer than any standard treatment of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Autologous stem cell transplant requires a lot of preparations that are discussed below:
A stem cell transplant is usually done for three reasons:
This is how stem cell transplant is done:
After stem cell transplant is over, you are kept under observation and given antibiotics to prevent infection. Doctors check your blood often to assess the levels of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in bloodstream. In most cases, you receive the treatment in an outpatient clinic, but you may have to stay in the hospital for almost 3 weeks, if your doctor feels it right.
The recovery time of autologous stem cell transplant takes over a year since your immune system returns to normal functioning only after a year or two. After the procedure of autologous bone marrow transplant, you will have to undergo biopsy tests for your bone marrows. Also, you will require several immunizations updates to assess how your body is functioning.