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November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month

Annually, November is commemorated as “National Bone Marrow Awareness Month”. We recognize and applaud the achievements of medical professionals who do transplant research at this time. We also thank those who have donated bone marrow and stem cells to help save the lives of patients worldwide. 

More than thousands of patients are diagnosed with fatal diseases each year, necessitating a bone marrow transplant or umbilical cord blood transplant. These transplant procedures swap out sick cells for healthy ones. Finding a donor who is a good match is usually the challenging part. This is crucial for a transplant to be successful, thus the more individuals who donate bone marrow, the more survivors we will have. We want you to think about becoming a donor this month in observance of National Marrow Awareness. Perhaps one day you will have the opportunity to save someone’s life.

When a person is diagnosed with an inherited condition or blood disease/ cancer, such as Sickle Cell Anemia, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, Aplastic Anemia, Thalassemia, or any other blood disorder that could be healed with a bone marrow transplant also known as stem cell transplant. BMT Specialist first recommends matching sibling donors, but there is only a 25% chance of getting the same. So, for the remaining 75% of patients, the next best option is to search for an unrelated donor match in the World Wide Registry. But finding a match in the registry is rare for patients, due to very few volunteers who have enrolled in registries, especially those from the African background. 

The main takeaway from National Bone Marrow Awareness Month is that everyone should sign up for the registry, regardless of race or ethnicity, and save the lives of the patients in need. African-Americans currently has the lowest proportion of matches. It is very crucial for more and more volunteers to enroll in the worldwide registries so as to have more probability of getting a match for suffering patients.

What is Bone Marrow?

Patients suffering from life-threatening blood disorders or blood cancer, certain types of anemia, and other conditions may require a “bone marrow transplant” if their conventional treatment is not working. The sponge-like substance found inside the bones is called bone marrow. These cells are still forming and will eventually grow into platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. White blood cells perform a variety of tasks, one of which is infection prevention. Platelets assist in the formation of clots after bleeding, while red blood cells transport oxygen to all other cells in the body. After receiving heavy doses of chemotherapy and occasionally radiation therapy, the patient’s own stem cells may occasionally be harvested (taken from the blood) and given back to them. But for other illnesses, the patient needs the stem cells to come from a donor. The donor may be a sibling or parent (referred to as a related donor) or an unrelated donor.

Types of Bone Marrow

types of bone marrow

1. Red Bone Marrow – All of the red blood cells, platelets, and 60–70% of the lymphocytes in an adult person are created in the red bone marrow. Other lymphocytes develop fully in the lymphatic tissues, such as the thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes, after beginning their lives in red bone marrow. Red bone marrow, along with the liver and spleen, contributes to the elimination of old red blood cells.

2. Yellow bone marrow – The main function of yellow bone marrow is to store lipids. It contributes to sustaining the right conditions for the bone to operate. Yellow bone marrow, however, may transform back into red bone marrow under specific circumstances, such as when there has been significant blood loss or when there is a fever.

Red bone marrow with long trabeculae (beam-like structures) within a sponge-like reticular framework typically surrounds yellow bone marrow, which is typically found in the interior chambers of long bones.

The Purpose of  National Bone Marrow Awareness Month

  • It averts deaths: The goal of this month is to promote stem cell donation. It has a huge impact on the lives of those with terminal diseases.
  • People are educated by it: Many individuals know very little to nothing about stem cell donation and how it helps save lives. People have the chance to get their questions answered and learn more about the process during this month.
  • Providing assistance: Cancer and other related conditions cause severe distress in most families. For so many people who are silently suffering, finding out about bone marrow transplants and donations can be a source of hope.

How are Bone Marrow Cells or Stem Cells Extracted from Donors?

Initially to boost the number of stem cells in the blood of the donor, medicine that stimulates their production will be given for about 4 days beforehand. Stem cell harvesting process is a non-surgical procedure performed in an outpatient hospital facility (OPD), wherein donor’s blood is removed through a catheter (a thin, flexible plastic tube) and circulated into a blood cell separator machine called as Stem Cell Apheresis Machine. 

November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month

This Apheresis Device separates the stem cells from the donor’s blood and transfers them to a collection tube; the remaining blood (plasma, red blood cells, and platelets) is transfused back into the donor via another catheter. Stem cells collected are then preserved in the freezer and transported in a safe case for the patient’s Bone Marrow Transplant procedure wherever required.

November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month

It’s a totally risk-free and safe procedure although after donating stem cells, the donor may experience some discomfort at the site where the needle was inserted, this would gradually settle. A nurse will check on you regularly during donation and a physician will be onsite.

To know more, watch the Stem Cell Donation process LIVE video:

What Happens During a Bone Marrow Transplant?

Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) also called as Stem Cell Transplant is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow of a patient with healthy bone marrow stem cells of the donor. It is the soft, fatty tissue inside your bones which produces blood cells. Stem cells are immature cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all of your different blood cells. BMT procedure involves transplanting blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote growth of new marrow which in turn give a normal & healthy life to the patient.

 During a Bone Marrow Transplant

Having a bone marrow transplant can:

  • Replace damaged bone marrow that is no longer functional as a result of certain medical disorders.
  • Restore the function of the bone marrow after damage from therapies like high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Stop the spread of certain hereditary disorders’ negative effects.
  • Boost immune function to fight current or recurrent malignancies like leukemia

To know more, watch the Bone Marrow Transplant LIVE video:

Click Here to Watch Success Stories & Testimonials of patients from across the Globe who underwent Bone Marrow Transplants

How can Medsurge India Help? 

Medsurge India is a prestigious support system for patients looking for doctors, hospitals, and specialized treatments. We’ll find the most suitable medical options for you. Regarding your medical issues, our team will give you a list of certified, reputable, and trusted doctors and hospitals. Additionally, we offer a treatment strategy that fits your budget. Apart, we assist patients with obtaining travel authorizations, medical visas, and a multitude of other things.

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