Stem Cell Basics- The Procedure
So, you’ve talked with your doctor and they’ve suggested that you undergo a stem cell treatment to help fix what ails you. You go ahead and gave the go signal to your doctor, but you ask yourself, “what really happens before, during, and after treatments?”
Well, that question will be answered in today’s article, so be sure to read on ahead to find out the entire procedure of stem cell therapy:
1. The Collection
The very first phase of stem cell therapy is the actual extraction of the stem cells. There are two major types of stem cell treatments: Autologous and Allogeneic.
The former just speaks of getting stem cells directly from your own body. For treating different kinds of cancers, the stem cells are usually acquired from your own bone marrow since these cells are going to be responsible in the replenishment of your lost stem cells during chemotherapy.
In the latter type of stem cell treatment, the stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow of a suitable donor. The best possible chance would be to get some directly from your family, but non-familial donors can also give you their stem cells, provided that they’ve passed the battery of tests that will tell them that they’re a suitable match for you.
2. Chemotherapy/Radioimmunology Treatments
After the collection process is done, you are now eligible to take some cancer treatments. Chemotherapy has been known to give the best possible fix for people who are suffering from cancer. This is where you’re given high (and strong) dosages of different cancer-killing drugs. It is sometimes accompanied by some radiation as well to really help kill off all of the cancer cells in your body.
Take note that because your immune system is weak after the procedures, you will sometimes experience some side effects including, but not limited to, diarrhea, nausea headache, sores, bad breath, among others.
3. Stem Cell Infusion
The extracted stem cells from the first procedure will then be infused in your body. This is usually injected in an area near your bone marrow to ensure safe and quick delivery.
After a couple of days, the stem cells will start to work in regenerating the cells that were killed during the chemotherapy and radio immunology procedures.
Once the stem cells have “grafted” in your bone marrow, they will then start to create the much-needed cells in your body.
The process of stem cell transplantation to kill off the cancer cells doesn’t end there. You will then be closely monitored by your medical team. They will check your blood count as well as your internal organs to see if there are no complications.
If they find that you’re pretty low on red blood cells, a blood transfusion will be needed. This is also to replenish your lost platelets that are responsible for blood clotting (and to also stop the bleeding).
In some cases, where you feel the most extreme side effects, you will be given some antibiotics just to help fend off the foreign pathogens that you might’ve contracted after the procedure.