An alternative for bone marrow transplant?
Nobody wants to hear an ominous phrase: “you need a bone marrow transplant”. Not only patients and their loved ones are unaware as to what that procedure entails and its potential consequences. Not to mention the difficulties in finding a matching donor.
Some information about treatments that involve bone marrow transplants
Without delving into the details, we all have a certain amount of tissue that’s called bone marrow. This tissue is extremely important for our blood production. This tissue can be irreversibly affected by certain disorders or treatments (for instance, chemotherapy for cancers).
In these cases, such irreversible changes will inevitably lead to fatal outcomes, if left untreated. These are the reasons that may cause your doctor to suggest a bone marrow transplant.
What happens during this procedure?
Bone marrow is extracted from the donor and transplanted into patient’s (recipient’s) body as a stem cell suspension culture. The entire reason of this procedure is to transfer healthy bone marrow cells to facilitate regrowth of bone marrow and renewal of blood cell production.
Why are stem cells used?
Because mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiating into various types of human tissue, which makes them an excellent instrument of regenerative medicine. Basically, as soon as stem cell enter patient’s bloodstream, they immediately start initiate regenerative processes within the recipient organism.
Is there a more modern approach?
Thankfully, there is. Right now, adipose tissue is considered a good and modern replacement for bone marrow tissue as a source of mesenchymal stem cells. Studies have shown that adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AdMSCs) and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, given identical in vitro growth conditions, are similar in their morphologic, immunophenotypic and colony-forming properties.
However, a comparative study of stem cells that were derived from donors of similar age and health, has shown that a lesser dose of AdMSCs is required to achieve the same effect, compared to bone marrow-derived stem cells.
It was also established that adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells have greater immunomodulatory properties compared to bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, which is especially important for treatment of autoimmune disorders.
Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells
Bone marrow is one of the principal organs involved in formation of blood (hematopoiesis). It is mostly located in the middle of long bones, called diaphysis. These types of bones are mostly found in the pelvis, ribs and sternum. Mesenchymal stem cells comprise no more than 0.005-0.01% of an average adult’s bone marrow.
Before a bone marrow transplant, a thorough medical examination is undertaken to ensure that both provider and recipient of the transplant will be able to withstand this procedure. This may take several weeks and tens of thousands of dollars.
The procedure for obtaining bone marrow is standard for all types of transplantation (autologous and allogeneic). It is extracted from the ilium or sternum under general or local anaesthesia. Maximum of 30 to 50 ml of bone marrow is possible to extract in a single aspiration without any damage to the patient’s health.
Potential side effects may include discomfort and soreness at the puncture site. Weakness and lack of energy may also be present due to the loss of bone marrow and may take up to a month for side effects to disappear.
Period after the transplant is the most difficult one. Patient will be required specialized care, expensive, a lifetime supply of expensive immunosuppressive drugs (to prevent rejection of the transplant) and sometimes even a cleanroom in the first two weeks after the operation.
Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells
Compared with bone marrow, stem cells in adipose tissue comprise up to 5% of the total volume, with abdominal area being the richest in stem cell concentration.
Extraction of adipose tissue is also much simpler and less invasive, compared with bone marrow extraction. Mini liposuction is used to extract anything from 10 to 100 ml of fat under a local anesthesia. The procedure leaves no scars, with a small puncture healing in a few days.
Compared with bone marrow-derived stem cells, treatment with AdMSCs is also cheaper – around 5 to 10 thousand dollars.
Extracted mesenchymal stem cells are administered to the patient intravenously. If the extracted stem cells are derived from bone marrow, it is possible to administer only the same quantity of the cells that was originally obtained. If the extracted stem cells are adipose-derived, it possible to cultivate them. Thus the dose patient will receive may vary, making repeated administration of autologous AsMSCs possible.
Typical course of treatment with AdMSCs involves three injections, which is more effective than a one-time injection of bone marrow stem cells.
Cell therapy, using adipose-derived autologous mesenchymal stem cells is a safer and less invasive alternative to treatments that involve bone marrow transplantation
For patients from beyond Kyiv and Ukraine, who are undergoing stem cell therapy, our company is pleased to offer additional services:
- Reservation of apartments or hotel rooms for the period of treatment in Kyiv;
- Transfers from/to the airport or railway station;
- Organization of the preliminary examination and consultations with leading specialists from clinics based in Kyiv city (in the absence of medical conclusions or test results).
Additional services will be charged at a separate cost. The calculations shall be made after a prior written request from the client.
Treatment with autologous stem cells should be considered in case of the following disorders