Now I know what a BMT is, but who needs
What are the reasons for a bone marrow
transplant? The many different types of cells in the blood
are all produced in the bone marrow, a spongy substance in the centre of
most bones. 'Stem cells' develop in the bone marrow and mature to
produce the different cells of the blood.
If a person's bone marrow is destroyed (as a
result of cancer, for example) and the cells within it die, no new red
or white blood cells can be produced. This causes the person to
develop anaemia (lack of red cells) and the person is more vulnerable to
infection because of lack of white blood cells. This is invariably
fatal. Bone marrow transplantation was originally used exclusively
as a treatment in advanced stages of leukaemia and lymphoma (both
cancers of white blood cells). Nowadays, it is used to treat other
cancers and many more illnesses too.
Leukaemias and lymphomas originate in the
bone marrow itself. They are generally treated with chemotherapy
(drugs that destroy the cancerous cells) but this also temporarily
suppresses the bone marrow cells, without destroying them completely.
However if this is unsuccessful or if the illness returns after
treatment then a bone marrow transplant may be required.
Aplastic anaemia is another condition that
requires a bone marrow transplant if it is very severe or if treatment
does not work. This is the illness that Yvette, the inspiration
for this campaign, has and in her case
the treatment was unsuccessful.
There are plenty other illnesses (over 70 in
fact) that may
require a bone marrow transplant to treat and more about these can be found on medical