WHAT IS BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION?
The principle in childhood leukemia is drug treatment. Complete cure is provided up to 85% as a result of chemotherapy for totally 3-3.5 years. Bone marrow transplantation can be administered on cases not responding to the treatment and in some special circumstances (at a ratio of 5-10%).
WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF THE THERAPY?
The basic principle in bone marrow transplantation is to receive stem cells, which provide production of blood cells, from health individuals (donor) and to administer to a leukemic patient. A normal blood production is provided by this way.
PERSONS FROM WHOM BONE MARROW STEM CELLS ARE OBTAINED
1- From sisters or brothers or other family members with suitable tissue groups (HLA) (ALLOGENEIC).
2- From non-relative donors with suitable tissue groups (HLA) (via Bone Marrow Tissue Data Bank).
3- Storing patient’s own bone marrow and administering when needed.
4- Collecting stem cells circulating blood of our vessels by a specific method and administering to the patient.
5- Umbilical Cord Blood: Utilizing the blood from placenta of a newborn sister or brother, which are rich of stem cells.
HOW IS BONE MARROW OBTAINED?
Collection procedure is made under operation room conditions and under general anesthesia. Inside the bone is entered by using special needles and marrow is drawn into syringes. Stem cells obtained at a certain amount are introduced to leukemic patient intravenously in special bags by filtering without waiting them.
As very small amounts of stem cells are collected, there is no drawback of the procedure for donors.
Production of blood cells rapidly begins from healthy stem cells within 3 weeks after transplantation procedures. In order to prevent rejection of bone marrow administered, preventive treatments are applied for about 6 months
SUCCESS RATE OF BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION:
As in developed hematology centers of the world, bone marrow transplantation is also made successfully in our country. Although it varies according to type of leukemia and suitability of donors, results are positive. A success rate of 43% to 83% is obtained.
Various severe complications occur during and after preparing stage of host leukemic patient for bone marrow transplantation. Leukemia or various types of cancer may occur again at late phase 5 times the normal individuals.
Leukemic children can reach their healthy status and live their normal lives 1 year after bone marrow transplantation.
Bone marrow transplantation costing average 25.000 dollars per patient in our country has become a health tourism abroad and 100.000-250.000 dollars is spent for it. For this reason; it would be useful that a number of specialized bone marrow transplantation centers are opened for service in Turkey.