What are some drawbacks to bone marrow transplants?
Since the recipient's white blood cells have been completely destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation, the patient is extremely vulner-able to infection. (It takes about 2–3 weeks for transplanted bone marrow to produce enough white blood cells to protect against infection.) In addition, transplanted red bone marrow may produce T cells that attack the recipient's tissues, a reac-tion called graft-versus-host disease. Similarly, any of the recipient's T cells that survived the chemotherapy and radia-tion can attack donor transplant cells. Another drawback is that patients must take immunosuppressive drugs for life. Because these drugs reduce the level of immune system activity, they increase the risk of infection. Immunosuppressive drugs also have side effects such as fever, muscle aches, headache, nausea, fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, and kidney and liver damage