About Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow is the soft, spongy-material inside bones. It contains cells called blood-forming stem cells (hematopoietic cells). 

These stem cells divide to form more blood-forming stem cells, or they mature into one of three types of blood cells: white blood cells which fight infection, red blood cells which carry oxygen; or platelets, which help the blood clot. Most blood-forming  stem cells are found in the bone marrow, but some cells, called peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs), are found in the bloodstream. Blood in the umbilical cord also contains hematopoietic stem cells. Cells from any of these sources can be used in transplants.

What is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant?

A bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a transplant of new cells. Some conditions may cause your bone marrow to make immature or defective blood cells instead of normal cells. A bone marrow transplant gives you new, healthy cells.

A transplant of blood or bone marrow cells is similar to a blood transfusion. Doctors do not have to remove or replace bones, and your bones do not have to be cut open for a blood or marrow transplant.

In blood and marrow transplants, high doses of chemotherapy, radiation or both are used to destroy cancer cells in your body. These high doses also destroys healthy cells. You need new stem cells to help replace your bone marrow so it can produce new blood cells. The new cells will replace those damaged by chemotherapy or radiation. The transplants are called bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). 

There are three types of transplants: 

  • Autologous transplant
  • Syngeneic transplants
  • Allogeneic transplants

For more information go to: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/bone-marrow-transplant

For more information

Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplatic Syndrome (MDS) International Foundation, Inc.

Blood and Marrow Transplant Information Network (BMT Infonet)

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Lymphoma Research Foundation

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

National Bone Marrow Transplant Link (nbmtLINK)

National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Office of Patient Advocacy

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Children's Organ Transplant Association, Inc. (COTA) 

National Foundation for Transplants (NFT)

National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF)