Home > Stem Cell Therapy > Why Perform a Stem Cell Transplant?

Why Perform a Stem Cell Transplant?

Author: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 September 2014 | commentsComment
Stem Cells Perform Transplant Why

Although many people may think of a transplant to mean replacing a diseased organ with another one, such as in heart or liver transplants, stem cells have an important and often life saving use for treating disease.

A stem cell transplant doesn't involve surgery in the same sense as an organ transplant and the procedure is simplistic in comparison. Its benefit, however, can be just as enormous.

What is a Stem Cell Transplant?

In basic terms, a stem cell transplant is the infusion of healthy cells to replace diseased or damaged ones. If successful, the healthy replacement stem cells will integrate into the body and give rise to more cells that can all take on the necessary functions for a specific tissue.

Current Stem Cell Transplant Treatments

There are current treatments that have shown success over the years and it is anticipated that the therapies will be further refined to improve success rates.


Cancer, particularly leukaemia, is an important disease for stem cell transplants; bone and peripheral blood stem cell transplants have been used for decades. A patient receives chemotherapy or radiation treatment to destroy the cancer cells but unfortunately, healthy cells are also damaged. A stem cell transplant can replace the lost and damaged cells with fresh, functioning ones, which can then provide the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that are important to metabolism, clotting and immunity. The other benefit of this treatment is that the newly formed white blood cells can further improve immune function such that they destroy any remaining cancer cells in the marrow.

Aplastic Anaemia

Aplastic anaemia is a condition that is not cancerous but rather, involves a reduction in the production of blood cells by the bone marrow. A stem cell transplant can replace the dysfunctional marrow with new functioning stem cells. These stem cells then travel from the bloodstream to the marrow where ideally, they begin to work properly and produce healthy working blood cells.

Potential Future Transplant Treatments

Success has already been shown in studies with stem cell transplants for a variety of diseases but more research is required before these can be performed regularly. Some of the diseases that could benefit from stem cell transplants are:
  • Parkinson's disease - replacing destroyed brain cells with healthy ones.
  • Type I diabetes - providing viable functioning stem cells for the pancreas.
  • Retinal diseases - transplanting stem cells to replace those in the retina that have been damaged by disease.

What Are The Risks?

Stem cell transplants still have several risks associated with the procedure. Some people will find they experience few issues while others may require consistent monitoring and repeated hospital stays. Some of the complications that can occur with a stem cell transplant are:
  • Damage to organs or blood vessels
  • Graft versus host disease
  • Death
Thus, although some people will experience few complications, others may find they suffer from short and long-term problems associated with a stem cell transplant. The success varies widely and it is impossible to predict who will experience side effects and to what degree they will occur.

In most cases, the benefits of stem cell transplants will likely outweigh the risk of complications and these techniques can truly be life-saving for conditions such as leukaemia and aplastic anaemia. It is hoped and anticipated that future research can yield successful therapies for a broader range of diseases.

You might also like...
Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
Is stem cell therapy is useful in knee pain / osteroarthritis rather than transplantation?
Krupa - 24-Sep-14 @ 8:18 AM
this realy hlpd me alot 4 mygrade 12 test that i ws writn last week..thank you.
kylie - 18-May-14 @ 8:12 PM
Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • poovi
    Re: Stem Cells and HIV
    When will clinical trials start how does one get onto the program. I have had stem cell procedure for eye problem I experienced I understand…
    19 October 2014
  • Hybo
    Re: Stem Cells and Hair Loss
    Hello, I have been type II diabetic for more than 15 years and have been taking daonil together with exercise and diet. I feel my beta…
    18 October 2014
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Benefits of Stem Cells
    @BedoBasha French researchers found a way of using human embryonic stem cells to create new skin with the objective of helping serious…
    17 October 2014
  • Bedo Basha
    Re: Benefits of Stem Cells
    What about using stem cells for treatment of post burn scars?
    17 October 2014
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Benefits of Stem Cells
    @terri Trials are still in their very early stages when it comes to autism and there remains a few arguments as to the effectiveness of…
    16 October 2014
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Turning Stem Cells Into Sperm
    @s Research is definitely progressing, from being an area that remained elusive to scientists they are now developing exicing…
    16 October 2014
  • Terri
    Re: Benefits of Stem Cells
    Is it true that stem cell can help a child with autism? I have a son that is 12, no speech and have just Ben told that he has osteopenia…
    16 October 2014
  • Meg
    Re: Totipotent Stem Cells
    Now this information is really great, but would you mind telling me why we are not using totipotent stem cells very much anymore?
    16 October 2014
  • Dr. "P"
    Re: Benefits of Stem Cells
    I have a scarred cornea OD from a botched surgery. My eye doctor said he could remove it but had nothing too put in its place. I later…
    15 October 2014
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Stem Cells to Treat Blindness
    @Lize - this must be very difficult for you and heartbreaking as a parent. While stem cell treatment for blindness is still in…
    15 October 2014
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreStemCells website. Please read our Disclaimer.