Bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a special therapy for patients with certain cancers or other diseases. A bone marrow transplant involves taking cells that are normally found in the bone marrow (stem cells), filtering those cells, and giving them back either to the donor (patient) or to another person. The goal of BMT is to transfuse healthy bone marrow cells into a person after his or her own unhealthy bone marrow has been treated to kill the abnormal cells. Bone marrow transplant has been used successfully to treat diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, aplastic anemia, immune deficiency disorders, and some solid tumor cancers since 1968.
Why is it needed?
The goal of a bone marrow transplant is to cure many diseases and types of cancer. When the doses of chemotherapy or radiation needed to cure a cancer are so high that a person’s bone marrow stem cells will be permanently damaged or destroyed by the treatment, a bone marrow transplant may be needed. Bone marrow transplants may also be needed if the bone marrow has been destroyed by a disease.
A bone marrow transplant can be used to:
Where do the healthy cells come from?
In all there are three major sources for isolating or extracting adult stem cells from a body. These include: