Bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant

Bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant

A bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is a two-step process of elimination by chemotherapy and / or radiation of deficient bone marrow (or malignant cells) followed by replacement of the deficient marrow or cells by an infusion of healthy blood stem cells.

What is a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant?

A bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is a two step process of:

  • elimination by chemotherapy and / or radiation of deficient bone marrow or malignant cells followed by
  • replacement of the deficient marrow or cells by an infusion of healthy blood stem cells

Blood stem cells are immature blood cells found in the bone marrow. As they mature they are responsible for the formation of the blood and immune system. They are available in bone marrow, peripheral blood and the cord blood of newly born babies.

The healthy blood stem cells can come from:

  • a child's own blood or bone marrow. The blood stem cells can be collected during a period of remission and stored for later transplantation, or
  • a compatible family member, or
  • an unrelated compatible donor

If a decision is made for your child to have a blood stem cell transplant, you will be given detailed information.

What can you do?

Keep the detailed information given to you about your child's blood stem cell transplant, together in a folder with any other information about treatment, such as the treatment protocol for your child.

All the information in the Childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network Clinical Leader.

This page last reviewed 01 May 2013.
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