if someone with leukemia gets a bone marrow transplant .are they out or the woods?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    The issue of rejectiom is backwards. You see, before the marrow is reinfused into the patient, the patient's immune system is killed. This is usually with a significant dose of radiation, a cytotoxin, or both. The patient's immune system having been removed, the patient no longer has the ability to reject anything. The rejection issue is graft-host rejection, i.e., if the transplant does not "take" correctly, the marrow may instead treat the recipient as a foreign body and reject all of the tissues of the recipient.

    Graft-host rejection is one of the three major risks of bone marrow transplantation. The other two are (a) the host has no immune system and therefore cannot fight off infections; think of the most over-the-top case of full-blown aids you can imagine; fungal infections are especially lethal. (b) failure of the graft to develop immunocompetent T cells. That sometimes results because the mature T cells in the bone marrow inoculum have to be depleted to reduce the chance of graft-host disease and give the graft time to adapt to its new home. It's a tightrope: too much depletion and the patient dies of leukemia or an opportunistic infection; too little depletion, and the patient dies of graft-host disease.

    It takes at least two to four weeks for the transplant to engraft itself...longer if the method involves delayed implantation of certain cells because of a perceived risk of graft versus host disease. It takes six months to a year before the patient settles down into a stable state.

    I would say that a BMT patient is not out of the woods until the two- to four-week engraftment period has passed.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If rejection occurs, then they may have some continued problems, but many many successful bone marrow transplants have been done on leukemia patients and which have given them a longer life expectancy!

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  • 1 decade ago

    well maybe not because your body can reject the bone marrow

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