Acute Myelofibrosis, Can it be Treated with Stem Cells?
Acute myelofibrosis is a rare form of leukemia where progressive scarring, or fibrosis, of the bone marrow impairs its ability to produce blood cells.
What causes bone marrow scarring?
The scarring or fibrosis of the bone marrow occurs because of the development of too many “megakaryocytes”, large abnormal blood cells, which break up into hundreds to thousands of platelets. Because of this a chemical called cytokines is released into the bone marrow. The cytokines stimulate the development of scar tissue in the marrow, and this stimulation of the scar tissue is called fibrosis.
What complications can come with acute myelofibrosis?
Many people with myelofibrosis can live symptom-free for years. But when it becomes acute myelofibrosis, the scarring of bone marrow can cause complications, notably anemia and liver and spleen enlargement. Some of the symptoms of these complications include weakness, fatigue, night sweats, malaise, and weight loss. These symptoms usually progress slowly, but may become severe. Some people’s condition will progress to another form of leukemia that may bring another set of complications and symptoms.
How can acute myelofibrosis be treated?
Depending on the severity of symptoms and the nature of complications, your doctor will utilize a different treatment approach. In the early stages, your doctor may not recommend any treatment or focus on treating uncomfortable or painful symptoms, but not the condition itself. If the condition progresses, more aggressive treatment options may become appropriate.
One of the ways to treat the acute for of the condition is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The stem cell transplant is almost always accompanied with chemotherapy. The chemotherapy destroys the damaged cells and cleans the body out of the cells that do not function properly. Then a stem cell transplant is performed so those cells that are deficient in the body are replenished using stem cells. Banking cord blood allows you to store hematopoietic stem cells for future use in the treatment of conditions like acute myelofibrosis.
Because the symptoms may progress slowly and not appear to be severe, some people may believe that they do not have a serious condition. A condition like myelofibrosis is an important example of the need to seek out the care of a doctor when persistent symptoms occur.
- Mayo Clinic: Myelofibrosis
- Myelofibrosis - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. (2022, December 28).
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