A Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant is procedure by which destroyed or damaged bone marrow in the body of a child is replaced by healthy bone marrow stem cells. Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside bones and they generate blood-forming cells. These immature blood stem cells later grow into platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. It is very essential for children to have a healthy bone marrow in their body because white blood cells helps fight off infection, platelets help in blood clotting and red blood cells supply oxygen throughout the body.
There can be various ailments or genetic defects that child might get at the time of their birth; this may deplete the healthy bone marrow in his or her body. In such situations, it is best to opt for bone marrow transplant that can give the affected child a new lease of life. Children having blood cancer are made to undergo this transplant for their survival and better health. Children having specific immune deficiency ailments can also prefer bone marrow transplant.
A bone marrow transplant replaces the unhealthy blood-forming cells in a child’s body with healthy ones. There are two types of transplants that can take place: autologous transplant and allogeneic transplant. In the former- the blood cells are collected from blood cells of the child itself. In the latter, cells are taken from either a family member or an unrelated person who has a good match.
Cancer is treated with elevated doses of chemotherapy that kills the bone marrow in an autologous transplant. Then the autologous blood cells are used to replace the damaged bone marrow. A type of blood cancer can be treated in an allogeneic transplant. It also helps the donor’s immune system to find and remove cancerous cells. Allogeneic bone marrow transplant is also used to treat non-cancerous serious ailments like sickle cell anemia. The transplant basically replaces defective marrow cells with healthy cells of the donor in kids afflicted with such ailments.
Team of doctors specializing in hematology, oncology, dietitians, child life therapist, respiratory therapist etc performs thorough evaluation of the child. Doctor may suggest the transplant considering the age, health, medical history, ailment type of the child and type of good donor match. Various tests are performed usually 10 days before the actual transplant. Doctors would also perform several tests on donor to get best match possible for the transplant.
In most of the cases, high dose of chemotherapy is given to the recipient as preparation for the transplant. Transplant is performed using a venous catheter like in the case of blood transfusion. Stem cells get into the bone marrow and start working after placing the catheter. After the transplant, recipient is kept under medical observation for sometime as child may become prone to infection. Doctors will give antibiotics and other necessary medicines. The actual process of engraftment begins after two weeks of transplant. This period may vary depending on the health and other conditions of the child. The recovery time may take a month or more.
Over the years, India has become a major destination for tourists coming from several countries seeking medical treatment at affordable cost without compromising on quality. India with its more advance techniques is attracting people who are looking for world class treatment especially for pediatric bone marrow transplant at low cost. It is the best place for treating such pediatric ailments.