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Bone marrow transplant

Trasplantament òssia Vall d'Hebron

Bone marrow (haematopoietic progenitors) transplant is a procedure in which the stem cells that produce all blood cells are used with the intention of repopulating or changing (partially or totally) a patient’s original affected cells.

It has always been known as bone marrow transplant, but in reality it is a transplant of blood stem cells (haematopoietic cells).

These haematopoietic blood cells may come from the patient or a donor, and will give rise to all the blood series: red, white and platelets. Haematopoietic cells can be obtained from bone marrow, peripheral blood (the most common source) or the umbilical cord (from human placenta donated for this purpose).



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Patients must undergo a conditioning process (in the days leading up to haematopoietic stem cell infusion), which has a dual purpose of eliminating any residual tumour cells and encouraging the cells to graft and not be rejected.

Once the stem cells have been infused through a catheter, it is necessary to wait a period of 2 to 3 weeks until these cells are implanted in the patient and gradually give rise to a new haematopoietic system, originating from the infused stem cells (either from the patient or from a donor).

There are several types of transplant that can be used depending on the underlying disease and the stage of the disease.


According to donor type:


Autologous, when the donor is the patient, for which haematopoietic progenitors must be obtained prior to transplantation and then cryopreserved (frozen) until they are used.


Allogeneic, when non-patient progenitor cells are used. Within this group a distinction is made between identical HLA family donors (usually sibling), unrelated donors (identified through various international registers) and haploidentical donors, who are relatives sharing half of the histocompatibility genes.


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