Autologous transplant is a type of bone marrow transplant in which the bone marrow or stem cells are taken from the body of the patients prior to chemotherapy and reintroduced into their body after the treatment is complete to facilitate the growth of healthy cells. Though chemotherapy targets only the malignant cells, it is possible that some healthy cells also get destroyed during the procedure. In such cases, the body needs fresh stem cells to make up for this loss. This calls for the need of an autologous bone marrow transplant.
Autologous bone marrow transplant is performed by harvesting the person’s own bone marrow. The stem cells are collected after giving growth factor to the patient. Within 5 days, stem cells from the bone marrow come into the blood circulation system from where these are collected with the help of a cytopheresis machine and stored in the blood bank to be used when required.
Autologous bone marrow transplant is recommended to patients who have to undergo high dose of chemotherapy for various types of blood cancer which include Lymphoma, multiple myeloma, certain leukemia and paediatric solid blood cancer.
Autologous bone marrow transplant serves as a ray of hope for many patients who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Risks of transplant mortality are also greatly reduced.
Various complications associated with autologous bone marrow transplant include mouth ulcers, vomiting, fever, indigestion, nausea and sometimes bleeding.
The patient is required to stay at the hospital for around 2 to 3 weeks. Patients are immunocompromised but do not require any immunosuppressive drugs. A routine check-up is very important to avoid unnecessary complications.