A bone marrow transplant replaces the diseased marrow of the patient with healthy blood stem cells. The blood stem cells can come from donated actual marrow, peripheral blood stem cells (a type of white blood cell in the circulating blood) or cord blood (the umbilical cord and after birth donated after a live healthy birth).
The patient's existing marrow is killed off with high dose chemo and full body radiation. The new stem cells are given via IV, the same as any other blood product, and by nature they travel to the bones, engraft, and start making new marrow and new blood.
The transplant is approved to treat leukemias, lymphomas, myleomas and several non cancerous blood diseases like sickle cell anemia. It is approved to treat several autoimmune disorders, and is in trials to treat several more. It can be used in conjunction with other organ transplants (the organ and blood stem cells from the same donor) to give the patient a chance to come off the anti rejection meds. And it may be a possible future cure to aids.
I had the transplant last year using cord blood to treat leukemia and am now disease free.
For more information, check out the National Marrow Donors Program at http://www.marrow.org
· 1 decade ago