Leukemia is a chronic disease that can be life threatening. It is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood cells. Over the years, the overall survival rate has greatly increased due to the improvement in treatment. This showed in the 5-year improvement rate which used to be from 33 to 59 percent in 2005 but is now 65 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.
A common and primary treatment option for leukemia is chemotherapy. But the high level of chemicals in the drugs can cause more damage to the bone marrow, which can lead to low blood cell counts, infection, bleeding, and more complications.
However, a stem cell transplant is a treatment option that involves replacement of damaged stem cells in your bone marrow, thereby making it possible to receive a higher dose of chemotherapy.
Continue reading this article to learn about the effect of a stem cell transplant in a person with leukemia, the effectiveness, and cost.
What Is a Leukemia Stem Cell Transplant?
A stem cell transplant, also referred to as a bone marrow transplant, is a surgical operation that involves transplanting stem cells into your bone marrow to replace the damaged stem cells during radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Stem cells are cells in the body that have the potential to become any other cells. Most stem cells in the body are found in the bone marrow, and these cells become red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. There are two main types of transplant, which include:
- Autologous stem cell transplants: This involves the collection of stem cells from your blood or bone during the procedure. They are then frozen and reinfused into your blood intravenously after you receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Allogeneic stem cell transplant:This involves the collection of stem cells from a donor, placenta or umbilical cord. And it will then be reinfused into your blood after chemotherapy and radiation therapy.