Reasons Why Stem Cell Collection Is Vital in Cancer Treatment

As the journey and progression of battling cancer in the medical world are continually changing, using stem cell replacement therapy has become more common. Stem cell therapy is not used to cure or treat cancer directly but as a way to help the body recover from the harsh chemo and radiation used to kill cancer cells.

Once a patient has gone through harsh treatment meant to kill off cancer-producing cells, the body is depleted of reparative cells while immunity is low. Chemotherapy and radiation kill off not only cancerous cells but good cells as well. Stem cell replacement is meant to replace the starter cells that create red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

How stem cells are collected?

Stem cells are collected from donors or the patient themselves. Two different methods are used to collect stem cells. Bone marrow harvest uses needles to go directly into the bone marrow in multiple different sites and the cells are removed. Peripheral blood stem cell collection uses medication to have the stem cells release from the bone to the blood where it can then be collected. From this point, a machine is used to separate the stem cells from the blood. This is appropriately called a Cell Separator.

Helps the body to recover

There are many different ways in which stem cell replacement can be helpful in treating cancer. One of the ways cancer is so tough to beat is that it reduces any cells that are created to defend the body. Then with radiation and chemo to help kill the cancerous cells we also kill off any remaining helpful cells. This leaves the body exposed to so many more illness and secondary illnesses that patients can fall victim to. Stem cell replacement helps the body recover from harsher treatments by replacing natural occurring cells to bring oxygen, immunity, and clotting abilities.

Restoring healthy cells

When a patient is about to go through a run of chemotherapy or radiation, stem cell replacement is also scheduled a few days after. This provides the body with the building block it needs to create and restore healthy red and white blood cells.

Helpful in targeting cancer cells

Stem cell replacement is often used to help treat leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. In this case, the cell transplant can directly help attack the cancer cells that might be left in the body after aggressive treatments.

Although our healthy bodies are producing red and white blood cells all the time, when we become sick these numbers will change drastically, especially if our immune systems are compromised. Stem cell treatment gives the patient an extra boost to make its own red and white blood cells in order for the recovery process.

It isn’t about fighting cancer with stem cell research, but about providing a body that has the capacity to recover and recoup after such an intense fight.

Useful in bone marrow/umbilical cord

Stem cell replacement can be especially helpful when the patient is able to donate their own healthy bone marrow or use of the stem cells in an umbilical cord. It is now a more standard procedure that when a woman gives birth she is given the open to preserve the umbilical cord in case of cancer down the road. It is a preventative practice that is becoming more and more popular as cancer rates have soared.

The benefit of having your own stem cells as opposed to a donor is the recovery time of the immune system. The stem cells need to be accepted and integrated into the new body just like an organ transplant. Under careful observation, people who do Autologous replacements will be able to recover their immune system in a few months after the procedure. In an allogeneic donor, it could take one to two years for the bodies immune system to fully adjust.