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HSC vs Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow Donation is Easy and Painless Process

Stem cells: Stem cells are very early blood cells in the bone marrow that develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Therefore hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are created in the bone marrow.

Stem cells are found in the following parts of the body:

  • The embryo: In general term, an embryo is an organism in early stages of development, before hatching from an egg. It refers to the first stage of development of a baby from the moment of fertilization. In humans, it is called an embryo until about eight weeks after fertilization. The development of the embryo is called embryogenesis.
     
  • Bone marrow: Bone marrow is a soft, spongy substance (tissue) found inside flat and long bones of the body. The marrow fills the empty spaces in the bones.
     
  • Peripheral blood: The same blood-forming cells that are found in bone marrow are also found in the circulating (peripheral) blood. This runs in blood vessels throughout the body. Some of the hematopoietic stem cells circulate from the marrow into the bloodstream. When the cells are found there, they are called peripheral blood stem cells.
     
  • Umbilical Cord blood (UCB): This blood is found in the umbilical cord left over in the placenta and collected after the baby's birth. The cord blood is collected to extract all the elements found in whole blood. It contains red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets and is also rich in hematopoietic stem cells. It is comparatively easy to collect, with no risk to the mother or baby. Stem cells present in the UCB are capable of repair and self renewal of damaged cells and thus used in the treatment of various medical conditions.

Stem cells for transplantation are obtained from any of the latter three sources.

The bone marrow makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day. Most blood cells in the body develop from cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow tissues present inside the bones contains immature blood-forming stem cells known as Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSC). The HSC makes new blood cells throughout our lifespan.

Difference between HSC and Bone Marrow Transplant

Widely known term ‘bone marrow transplant’ is actually HSC transplant. Whether it is stem cell or bone marrow transplant, actual end-use is of HSC only. The source of taking stem cells makes the only, if it is extracted from bone marrow then it is known as Bone Marrow Transplant otherwise cells taken directly from the blood cell (PBSC and UCB) are called Haematopoietic Stem Cells.

Generally cells (HSCs) are already differentiated and duplicate themselves. These stem cells are unspecialised; they have the potential to multiply through cell division. In this process some of them remain stem cells and others differentiate and develop into many different kinds of blood cells.

When due to cancerous or non-cancerous diseases bone marrow stem cell functions abnormally, then deficiency of formed components of blood sets in, resulting in weakness, infections and bleeding ultimately leading to death.

HSC – Bone Marrow Transplant

Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT)/Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) is a life saving treatment for malignant diseases like Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma and also benign disorders like Aplastic Anemia and Thalassaemia etc.

This transplant is a procedure in which diseased marrow is replaced by healthy marrow or haematopoietic stem cells. Healthy stem cells are taken from a donor or patient’s own body. These stem cells are harvested and stored for transplantation after chemotherapy or radiation treatment. This procedure is in use for nearly four decades.

This helps body make enough red, white blood cells and platelets to cure many diseases.

The aim of haemopoietic stem cell transplantation is the removal of the underlying disease in the recipient, together with full restoration of haemopoietic and immune function. Through this transplant, doctors intend to try and cure some types of blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

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