What is bone marrow?
Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside your bones that makes blood-forming cells (blood stem cells). These cells turn into blood cells including:
- White blood cells to fight infections.
- Red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Platelets to control bleeding.
Blood-forming cells are also found in the blood stream and the umbilical cord blood.
How does transplant work?
Before transplant, you get chemotherapy (chemo) with or without radiation to destroy the diseased blood-forming cells and marrow. Then, healthy cells are given to you (it’s not surgery). The new cells go into your bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line, or tube. It’s just like getting blood or medicine through an IV. The cells find their way into your marrow, where they grow and start to make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
What diseases can BMT treat?
Bone marrow transplants can treat:
- Blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma
- Bone marrow diseases like aplastic anemia
- Other immune system or genetic diseases like sickle cell disease