Why it's done

A bone marrow transplant may be used to:

  • Safely allow treatment of your condition with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation by replacing or rescuing bone marrow damaged by treatment
  • Replace diseased or damaged marrow with new stem cells
  • Provide new stem cells, which can help kill cancer cells directly

Bone marrow transplants can benefit people with a variety of both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) diseases, including:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bone marrow failure syndromes
  • Chronic leukemia
  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Plasma cell disorders
  • POEMS syndrome
  • Primary amyloidosis

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some bones. Its job is to produce blood cells. If your bone marrow isn't functioning properly because of cancer or another disease, you may receive a stem cell transplant.

To prepare for a stem cell transplant, you receive chemotherapy to kill the diseased cells and malfunctioning bone marrow. Then, transplanted blood stem cells are put into your bloodstream. The transplanted stem cells find their way to your marrow, where — ideally — they begin producing new, healthy blood cells.

Oct. 13, 2016
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