Therapeutic use: transplantation
Certain fatal diseases such as leukemia destroy bone marrow or make it function abnormally. Given that bone marrow produces blood, the life of a person whose bone marrow is not functioning properly is in danger. Treatment can involve destroying the patient’s bone marrow and replacing it through a transplant of stem cells from the bone marrow, peripheral bloodstream or cord blood of a compatible donor.
A stem cell transplant is not the only therapeutic solution possible for diseases such as leukemia and other cancers that result in the abnormal functioning of the bone marrow. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and specialized medications are tried first of all to attempt to stop the disease. However, in some cases, these treatments do not work, and the only way to save these patients involves replacing their stem cells with stem cells from people who are in good health.
Patients whose bone marrow is destroyed and who receive a stem cell transplant must remain isolated in a room until the transplant has been successful and their new bone marrow has produced sufficient white blood cells to protect their system against surrounding bacteria.