Stem cell transplantation is widely used in cancer patients to equip them with genetically modified cells inorder to solve their inherited or acquired disorders. The transplant may be autologous wherein the stem cells come from the patient himself or allogeneic where the donor is another person.
Autologous stem cell transplantation is widely practiced in the treatment of hematologic and solid malignancies including lymphoma and breast cancer. It is also used to treat acquired disorders of hematopoietic cells. In animal experiments, this has also been shown to treat severe autoimmune disorders. Before long, this may be applicable to humans as well.
Cancer tumors are usually controlled through chemotherapy or radiotherapy. In principle, the higher the dose or the more intense is the therapy, the higher is the chances of cure. However, increasing the dose can damage a person’s vital organs most particularly the bone marrow which is very sensitive to the therapy.
The bone marrow is the organ responsible in the production of blood products such as hemoglobin. In order to overcome the limitation of the bone marrow, harvested and frozen hematopoietic stem cells are infused to the patient as a hematologic rescue following doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy to improve patient survival.
Stem cell transplantation in cancer patients is not just a simple matter of taking cells out and letting them grow and multiply. The patient has first to undergo a preparatory regimen of chemoradiotherapy before infusing the modified cells. The patient is first given a dose of cytotoxic drugs or in combination with total-body irradiation given in several factions or installment.
Complications after stem cell transplantation can happen due to the toxicity of intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy conditioning regimens that destroys the immune system and hematopoietic system. While waiting for the infused cells to proliferate, the patient is at high risk from bacterial, viral and fungal infection. These are short-term complications.
Long-term complications after transplantation can also occur to include renal insufficiency, anemia, lung diseases and endocrine dysfunction. In children, growth hormone deficiency may occur.
Five years after a successful stem cell transplant regimen in cancer patients, cataracts may also start to appear. It is estimated that about 80% of patients who receive a single-dose regimen develops cataracts while about 20% of patients who receive fractionated total-body irradiation develops this complication. Patients exposed to steroid therapy to fight the auto-immune side effects are also likely to get this complication.
Life is important, but so is healthy eyesight. What is life if one cannot see and enjoy normal living?
Regular intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin health supplements or foods rich in these antioxidants can ward off cataract blindness away. If you notice the onset of cloudy vision, cataracts maybe have started to form. A couple of drops a day of NAC eye drops for cataracts can help stop it in its course.
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