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

Why Perform a Stem Cell Transplant?

Author: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 November 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...
This has been very helpful thankyou so much.
Kris - 14-Nov-14 @ 1:44 PM
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
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Turning Stem Cells Into Sperm
    @jess - I'm afraid it's a case of 'how long is a piece of string' unfortunately there is no predicting when, how and what…
    29 January 2015
  • jess
    Re: Turning Stem Cells Into Sperm
    Me and my wife are very interesting in this research and wondering how far away thisnis from happening. I have a child from a…
    27 January 2015
  • august
    Re: Stem Cells: The Facts
    omz now i know all about stem cells. i never knew anything at all, and then when it came up in school i was so confused so i came here and…
    27 January 2015
  • RITU
    Re: Treatments with Stem Cells
    how far is the stemcell therapy helpful for treating a special child aged 18+ years(suffering from delayed milestones, lack of…
    27 January 2015
  • Will
    Re: Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction
    This comment is directed to kk. Riiiiight. You're 13 years old, you're obviously still in the closet and you…
    27 January 2015
  • Jessie
    Re: Stem Cells for Stroke Victims
    My son had stroke on right side of his brain due to AVM. He is unable to move or speak. He is quadriplegic. Let us know if you…
    25 January 2015
  • Desperate2bmum
    Re: Ovarian Function and Stem Cells
    Are you doing clinical trials for this please get in touch if you are please? I was diagnosed with POF at a young age, I am 35…
    24 January 2015
  • mahendra
    Re: Overview of Stem Cell Therapy
    I would like to know if Stem Cell Therapy works for Diabetic Neuropathy and would like to know the doctors in Mumbai -India who…
    22 January 2015
  • mahendra
    Re: Overview of Stem Cell Therapy
    I would like to know if stem cell therapy works for Diabetic Beuropathy and if the same is available in India
    22 January 2015
  • ExploreStemCells
    Re: Major Diseases and Stem Cells
    @NT - There have been some global trials which has shown that stem cell treatment may be able to help restore the lost functions…
    21 January 2015
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.