I know that now we can take a small clip of umbilical cords and store them for future use in case of cancer, etc. Is there any way to store bone marrow long term? I know a couple of people who have died waiting for a bone marrow trasplant. One was a child and one was an adult but the result was the same. I haven’t been able to find any information on this.
According to a pamphlet I ran across from the National Cancer Institute, bone marrow can be stored for up to 3 years.
Some cancer patients receive bone marrow transplants from themselves. The marrow is extracted before they have received any radiation and chemotherapy. (It helps if the patient doesn’t have leukemia, but they still may try it anyway). Then you get some pretty big doses of chemo and radiation. If you make it through that, then you get the good bone marrow back and you might recover a bit more quickly.
If you already have leukemia, the doctors will try to kill of the cancer that’s in your bone marrow already, then give you chemo and then give you the presumably healthier bone marrow back.
So, the end result is, yes, you can save your bone marrow, but unless you’re pretty sure you’re going to contract cancer in 3 years, I wouldn’t worry about it. Getting the bone marrow out is not an easy procedure and your hip will hurt a lot after the procedure. It’s not as easy as giving blood and drinking orange juice and eating cookies afterwards isn’t going to make you feel better.
Of course, if you’re going to give bone marrow to a relative to keep them alive, the sacrifice is well worth the cost.