BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION
Bone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for somepeople suﬀering from life-threatening blood or immune system diseases. It can also be a treatment option for a number of hereditary hematological disorders like thalassemia.
Bone marrow is the soﬅ, spongy tissue in the bones where blood cells are produced. It contains stem cells, which develop into the mature cells of our blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. During bone marrow transplantation the damaged bone marrow of a patient is replaced with the healthy bone marrow stem cells from a volunteer donor. Aﬅer transplantation the new stem cells take over blood cell production.
For a bone marrow transplantation to take place, a matchingdonor must be found ﬁrst. Ηistocompatibility, or otherwise the tissue similarity of two individuals, is determined by the histocompatibility antigens called the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). These antigens are inherited and serve as the molecular identity of our immune system. Due to thefact that they are highly variable, ﬁnding two individuals with the same tissue type is particularly diﬃcult.
The search for a suitable donor for a patient begins among the patient’s siblings, who have 25% chance of being compatible. There are, however, many patients that cannot ﬁnd a donor among their close family members, therefore a search should be undertaken among unrelated volunteer donors who are able and willing to donate bone marrow to any patient in need.
BONE MARROW COLLECTION PROCEDURE
In the event that you are found compatible with a patient, you will be asked for further laboratory testing by providing a fresh blood sample. If you are then selected to provide a bone marrow graﬅ, you will undergo a thorough medical examination in order to ensure that you are in good health and be provided with more detailed information about the collection process that will follow. You will be asked to decide whether you would like to proceedwith the donation and sign a consent form. Bone marrow is collected in two ways: