What is Autologous Stem Cell Transplant?
There are two major types of stem cells transplant that are used for the treatment of various medical conditions, one of which is the Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. What is it exactly and why is it the first thing that doctors advise when someone is looking to get a stem cell transplant?
Autologous Stem Cell Transplant
When someone receives an organ transplant, which means that the organ is from another person instead of the patient, there is a huge chance that the transplant will be unsuccessful. The organ might not be well received by the body and, thus, it will be utterly useless.The same goes if you have stem cells transplanted to you from another person. Although these cells can pretty much work on you, it is still not a guarantee that it will do so. Sometimes, it can be rejected a few months after the operation.
That is why the first thing that doctors would recommend is for the patient to undergo autologous stem cell transplants instead. This is the process whereby the stem cells are acquired directly from the person’s body. This is to ensure that the chances of success, especially when it comes to grafting, is much higher than any other means.
So, how exactly is an autologous stem cell transplant done? Here are the steps:
- This transplant is primarily used to treat Leukemia and other types of cancers. You will be required to undergo some chemotherapy sessions, but days prior to that, your bone marrow will be extracted for its stem cells. It will then be frozen and preserved until the time of the operation comes.
- Next, your body will have to be primed in order for it to receive the stem cells with open arms. The way doctors do this is that they will subject you to a number of chemotherapy and radiation therapy sessions until all of the invading cancer cells are gone.
- Hours after the previous procedures, an intravenous catheter will be inserted in one of your major arteries and it will serve as the pathway for your stem cells to go into.
- The stem cells are then infused in your body through the catheter or known as stem cell injection, after which, you will then be observed for a few days for any signs of adverse effects due to the transplantation.
The main reason why Autologous Stem Cell transplants are well favored by the medical professionals is due to the fact that it has the best compatibility to the patient’s body. Because it was extracted from the person’s body, the chances of it being rejected are nil.
Also, you will not need to worry about getting a suitable donor since you will be the main source of the stem cells.
And, since the cells came from your own body, you will not experience GVHD or Graft-Versus-Host-Disease where the new stem cells will attack the patient’s own organs because it is deemed as “foreign” by them.
Actually, there is only one major downside to this type of stem cell transplant. In some cases, the transplant, although successful, might not be able to kickstart the production of your body’s cells. Furthermore, some of the cancer cells might be triggered and it will come back again a few months after.