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Benefits and Risks of Stem Cell Transplant for Older Patients

BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) is a special therapy use for patients having cancer or other diseases. In a bone marrow transplant, the stem cells or bone marrow cells are taken out, then filtered, and put back into the patient’s body or in another person’s body. The aim of BMT is to put healthy bone marrow or stem cells into a person after the abnormal cells are kill by treating them. Bone Marrow stem cells transplant is use to treat cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and some blood and immune system diseases affecting the bone marrow. 

What are stem cells?

 Stem cells are special cells capable of making copies of themselves. Changing into different types of cells needed in a body. In the human body, stem cells are present in different body parts. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside our bones. Most of the body’s blood cells are store in the bone marrow. Bone marrow contains haematopoietic stem cells. The bone marrow stem cells are needed for blood cell formation. These stem cells are fond in the blood that flows in our body. Stem cells are different from other blood cells and there are other blood disorders also because-

  • They are able to reproduce another cell identical to themselves.
  • They can generate one or more subsets of other mature cells

For a bone marrow transplant, stem cells are needed. 

Need for bone marrow transplant

Bone marrow transplant is needed for curing many types of cancer and other diseases. During cancer treatment, radiation or chemotherapy may permanently damage the bone marrow cells of a person. Damaged bone marrow cannot form blood cells so a bone marrow transplant is need. 

Types of a bone marrow transplant

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure in which bone marrow from a donor is transplant into a person whose bone marrow has been damage or destroy. There are two main types of bone marrow transplants: allogeneic and autologous. In an allogeneic transplant, the bone marrow comes from a donor who is a mismatch for the recipient. In an autologous transplant, the bone marrow comes from the recipient themselves.

There are also several different ways in which bone marrow can be transplant, including through peripheral blood stem cells, cord blood stem cells, and bone marrow itself. The type of transplant that is best for a person depends on several factors, including the type of disease being treat and the availability of donors. No matter what type of transplant is used, though, the goal is always to provide the recipient with healthy bone marrow that will help them to lead a normal, healthy life.

Depending upon the donor, bone marrow stem cells transplants are of two types. 

  • Autologous bone marrow transplant- in such cases, the donor of the stem cells is the patient. The stem cells of the patient are took out by apheresis or bone marrow harvest, frozen, treat, and given back to the patient.
  • Allogenic bone marrow transplant- stem cells are took from a donor by apheresis or bone marrow harvest and given to the patient. The donor is usually a sister or a brother of the patient. 
  • Umbilical cord blood transplant- the stem cells are took from an umbilical cord after an infant is born. These stem cells are then reproduce to become mature and functioning blood cells quickly. These stem cells are test and frozen till they are require for a transplant.  

Stem cell transplant challenges in old patients

One of the most challenging aspects of stem cell transplantation is finding a donor match for patients over the age of 60. This is because the bone marrow of older patients tends to produce less stem cells, and the stem cells that are produce are often not as effective at regenerating tissue. As a result, older patients often require a higher number of stem cell transplants, and their chances of finding a suitable donor are greatly reduce.

In older patients, stem cell transplants can be challenging due to various reasons. Most elderly people already have some health issues which may limit their ability to tolerate doses of radiation or chemotherapy or other factors of the stem cell transplant process. The Bone marrow transplant process may have certain complications such as-

  • Infections- bacterial infection is common in such transplants but virus and fungal infections can be fatal. 
  • Low RBC and low platelets- Due to non-functioning bone marrow, low RBC and low platelet count can happen which can be life threatening. 
  • Pain- GI (Gastrointestinal Irritation) and mouth sores are very common during chemotherapy and radiation. The associated pain can be unbearable for many patients, especially the elderly people. 
  • Respiratory distress- Patients may suffer from respiratory distress due to fluid overload, inflammation in the airway, bleeding, or infection. Such complications can be life-threatening. 
  • Organ damage- During the transplant of bone marrow stem cells, organs such as the liver or heart may get damaged due to infection, excess fluids, and high doses of radiation or chemotherapy. 
  • Stem cell graft failure- the transplant may not be successful due to several reasons.

Stem Cells transplantation cost in America

In America, the stem cell transplantation cost may range between $350,000 and $800,000 depending upon the type of stem cells transplantation. In India, the autologous bone marrow transplantation cost ranges from $20,000 to $23,000. The cost of allogenic bone marrow transplantation ranges from $35,000 to $42,000. In some cases, the cost may also reach to $90,000. India has done immense progress in the fields of medical research. Additionally, India has a list of JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals. Offering bone marrow transplants done by the best professionals. 


Bone marrow transplant has become popular over the years in treating different types of cancer and other diseases. The process is effectively use in patients of all ages. There are some risk factors and complications associated with this process. India is home to a large number of experienced and skilled oncologists and hematologists. Indian hospitals are grabbing the attraction of international patients with their world-class facilities and budget-friendly bone marrow transplant packages. The use of advanced technologies in Indian hospitals has made them the ideal destinations for stem cell transplantation.


I have a vast amount of experience in the medical field. I have worked as a doctor for over 20 years, and during that time, I have seen firsthand how different treatments can impact patients. This gives me a unique perspective when it comes to advising people on their health. Another reason why I am so successful is that I am extremely passionate about helping others. When it comes to my blog, I want to make sure that everyone has access to accurate information about health. That’s why I spend countless hours researching different topics so that my readers can benefit from the latest findings.

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