Treatments - bone marrow transplant

What is bone marrow?

Bone marrow is the soft, spongy part in the centre of bones where blood cells are produced. The bone marrow contains stem cells, which develop into the mature cells in our blood. Stem cells, which are used for transplant, are found in bone marrow, blood or umbilical cord blood.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a treatment option for some people who have life-threatening blood or immune system diseases, such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. The procedure replaces blood stem cells in people whose bone marrow has been destroyed by large doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

A bone marrow transplant is a generic term that covers all types of transplants that use stem cells: a blood stem cell transplant, an umbilical cord blood transplant and a bone marrow transplant.

There are different types of bone marrow transplants:

  • autologous transplant: where a patient’s own stem cells are used for the transplant
  • allogeneic transplant: where another person donates stem cells for the transplant. The donor can be related (family) or unrelated (volunteer donors)

Diagnosis

If you are diagnosed with either leukaemia, certain immune system and/ or genetic disorders, a bone marrow transplant may be a treatment option.

This is a list of conditions/diseases for which bone marrow transplantation is an acceptable treatment option:

  • chronic myeloid leukaemia
  • chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • acute leukaemia
  • myelodysplasia
  • myeloproliferative disease
  • multiple myeloma
  • Hodgkin lymphoma (disease)
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • other lymphoproliferative disorders (inc hairy cell leukaemia)
  • severe aplastic anaemia
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria
  • immunodeficiency diseases
  • Fanconi's anaemia
  • inherited metabolic disorders
  • marrow failure syndromes of restricted lineage
  • pure red cell aplasia (Blackfan Diamond syndrome)
  • congenital dyserythropoietic anaemia
  • severe inherited platelet function disorder
  • thalassaemia major
  • sickle cell disease
  • osteopetrosis
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