What is the use of bone marrow donation?

Bone marrow transplants are required when a persons bone marrow becomes damaged or diseased to such an extent that it stops functioning properly.

This may be due to certain cancers, such as:

  • leukaemia cancer of the white blood cells
  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system), or a related cancer of the blood

Leukaemia has a few main sub-types:

Other diseases that may require a bone marrow transplant include:

  • certain genetic blood and immune system disorders such as  sickle cell anaemia,  thalassaemia and some severe immune system diseases
  • bone marrow failure (severe aplastic anaemia)
  • other diseases that affect the blood, such as  multiple myeloma , a cancer that affects blood plasma cells

Bone marrow transplants are also sometimes necessary following certain treatments, such as high-dose  chemotherapy and  radiotherapy, which are often used to treat cancer. These treatments tend to damage healthy stem cells as well as destroying cancer cells.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 30 Jun 2016