Is it Random or is it Fate?
~A Discussion on Bone Marrow Transplants~
Author: Kara Marina B. Sc. Biopsychology
Located in your bone marrow, Hematopoietic stem cells eventually make the components of blood. Similar to embryonic stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells are categorized into four types: pluripotent, totipotent, multipotent or unipotent (1). Their potency depends on how far in their development they exist, whether they can become anything or just one type of cell. Unlike embryonic stem cells, hematopoietic cells can only differentiate into blood cells, but still the possibilities are vast.
Sickle Cell patients require red blood cells be produced from their Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). Leukemia patients require all of their blood components be replenished, each blood cancer arresting bone marrow cells at different stages. The best stem cell has a wide range of development possibilities: the pluripotent and the totipotent cells. Also, the best stem cells can regenerate themselves after they die. These long-term stem cells are sought after and hoped for while harvesting. Unfortunately, to date, there is no method to discern the difference between stem cells with longevity and cells dubbed short term-progenitor cells (2). These short term-progenitor cells may last four to five months.
Two theories surround the differentiation of bone marrow cells: the deterministic view and the stochastic view. The deterministic view contents that each cell becomes a product of its environment, changing in response to external signals such as hormones. The stochastic view contents that stem cells differentiate randomly.
Is it random or is it fate?
Research shows us both: random and fate. Totipotent Hematopoietic cells differentiate deterministically and therefore have the greatest ability to react appropriately to a new host’s needs. But each particular cell’s fate seems to be random within that environment even though the overall effect is determined by the host. In the end, there’s an order to their random, as seen over a long period of time.
But only true stem cells can show us this glory: pluipotent or totipotent stem cells capable of self-renewal. Retrieving these cells makes the difference between a successful and a non-successful BMT, among other factors, namely having a great match!
Fortunately, new ways of extracting stem cells are quickly replacing the old bone marrow needle routine. Because a small amount of stem cells circulate in the peripheral blood, researchers have found they can ‘coax’ the bone marrow cells from the bone marrow into the circulating blood by injecting a cytokine such as granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (3). Injected prior to harvesting, this procedure yields more Hematopoietic cells with better results! All the more reason to register…..
Individuals wishing to register can:
· call 1-888-236-6283 (1-888-2-DONATE) and ask about registering to be a bone marrow donor
· create an account and with blood.ca (create username and password) and receive a mouth-swab kit by mail
· Contact Kyshah Powell at: email@example.com for the September drive in Hamilton
· Outside of Canada visit here.
1. Murnagham, Ian. (2014). Stem Cells: The Facts. Explore Stem Cells. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/StemCellsFacts.html
2. Percorino, Lauren. (2012). Stem Cells for Cell-Based Therapies. Actionbioscience. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/stem_cells_for_cell-based_therapies_article_update.html
3. National Institute of Health. (2011). Hematopoietic Stem Cells. In U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/scireport/pages/chapter5.aspx#figure1
Bone Marrow Transplant: Q&A
~The Most Curable Option for SCD~
Author: Kara Martina, B. Sc. Biopsychology
More than often we hear news stories about this elusive Bone Marrow Treatment and how it helps those with Sickle Cell Anemia. Despite its success, many people remain ignorant about Bone Marrow Transplants (BMT) and its potential life-saving effects for those with anemia or cancer. This lack of knowledge leaves people apathetic and unaware of how to become a Bone Marrow donor. So: what are Bone Marrow Transplants and how do they work?
Are they Successful?
According to Blood Journal, a matched Bone Marrow transplant remains the only curative strategy for Sickle Cell Diseases (1). The first success was reported in 1984 in a patient with coexisting acute myeloid leukemia (2). Not without potential grafting complications and extensive conditioning regimens, Bone Marrow Transplants are considered effective. The greatest success rate was reported in 2011 with overall survival and event-free survival of 93% and 86%, respectively (3).The most recent article published in JAMA, July 2 2014 announced that 29 out of 30 Sickle Cell patients successfully underwent a matched Bone Marrow Transplant (4).
How does it work?
Bone Marrow donors are matched based on immune system markers, and once an allogeneic match is found, their bone marrow is harvested. More likely to be a brother or sister, a World Wide Marrow Bank is also used to find close matches. The replacement bone marrow cells grow into normal blood cells without the sickle-shaped deformities.
What is Bone Marrow?
Where your body makes the components of blood. Bone marrow is the soft sponge-like material in the centre of bones. Large flat bones such as the breastbone (sternum) and pelvis contain the most bone marrow (5). To make blood cells constantly you need a healthy bone marrow.
What does Bone Marrow in Sickle Cell Patients look like?
From the beginning, stem cells from the bone marrow in a person with Sickle Cell Anemia are programmed to produce Sickle Blood cells.
How are BMTs done?
First, the defective bone marrow needs to be partially or fully wiped out. A course of radiation or chemo or both is used to wipe out defective marrow. Often the hardest and most tiring time during BMT, this first step alone has taken lives before the procedure can even be completed. Difficult for the individual and the family, this chemo/radiation takes a heavy toll on the body and often perturbs people form choosing BMT. More research into creating less devastating effects of the first stage continues.
Second, the healthy bone marrow is injected, delivered into the patient’s bloodstream (6). Described by some as ‘similar to getting a blood transfusion,’ the stem cells travel through the blood into the bone marrow. Most times, no surgery is needed.
How can I donate/become a bone marrow donor?
Simply register! To become a donor it only takes a small vial of blood or swab of cheek cells to be typed as a bone marrow/stem cell donor. It’s like saying to anemia and cancer communities alike, “I’m here!” Minor costs may apply for HLA tissue typing. If someone needs your bone marrow, you’ll be contacted and harvested. Screening is often rigorous, but given the benefits of healthy bone marrow—it’s worth the effort!
Individuals wishing to register can:
· Call 1-888-236-6283 (1-888-2-DONATE)
· Create an account and appointment with blood.ca (create username and password)
· Contact Kyshah Powell at: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Outside of North America visit here.
1. M.M. Hsieh, C.D. Fitzhugh and J.F. Tisdale. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for sickle cell disease: The time is now. Blood. Vol. 118, August 4, 2011, p. 1197. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-01-332510.
2. Johnson FL, Look AT, Gockerman J, Ruggiero MR, Dalla-Pozza L, Billings FT 3rd. Bone-marrow transplantation in a patient with sickle-cell anemia. N Engl J Med 1984;311(12):780-783.
3. Bernaudin F, Socie G, Kuentz M, et al. Long-term results of related, myeloablative stem cell transplantation to cure sickle cell disease. Blood 2007;110(7):2749-2756.
4. M. M. Hsieh et al. Nonmyeloablative HLA-Matched Sibling Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Severe Sickle Cell Phenotype. JAMA. Vol. 312, July 1, 2014, p. 48. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7192.
5. Kenny, Tim. (2012). Stem Cell Transplant. Retrieved July 10, 2014 from http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Stem-Cell-Transplant.htm
6. A. D. A. M. (2013). Bone Marrow Transplant. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/surgery/bone-marrow-transplant/overview.html
According to TMZ, Cahron “JayAre” Childs from the rap group Cali Swag District died Friday as the result of complications from sickle cell anemia.
MTV reported that Jay suffered from sickle cell and was hospitalized Thursday. Hours later he reportedly went into into cardiac arrest and passed away.
Surviving group member Smoove Da General took to his social media to discuss losing yet another group member and close friend saying,
“For those who speak or act before they think or know anything Jayare was born with sickle cell & he had a seizure in his sleep yesterday afternoon on the couch at his moms house the paramedics rushed him to the hospital and attempted to revive him over and over he was stable up until today at 5:15 today where he went into his last cardiac arrest and left us …this was my everyday nigg* I literally saw you or talked to you everyday bro and who would have known yesterday morning would have been my last time speaking to u …I can’t believe your gone I can’t believe we have to deal with this again …I jus can’t believe it ..your birthday is in 6 days ..I wish I could slow down time because I don’t think there will be any celebrating on the 12th I’m torn ..I’m confused …I’m hurt ..I’m lost…I’m …………..rest in peace my brother from another Cahron Shemar Childs ..I love you bro #why ???????”
Sadly, JayAre is the second group member to pass away in the last few years. Group member M-Bone passed in 2011.
Our Prayers and Condolences to Jayare family and Friends as we understand the struggle of Sickle Cell Anemia oh to well.
This section is solely to let our Sickle Soldiers tell their story trials & tribulations alongside things they feel are wrong in the Sickle Cell Community