Bone marrow transplants are most often used to treat patients with certain types of cancer such as leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. There has been some experimental use of bone marrow transplants to treat other cancers such as breast cancer and kidney cancer.
The bone marrow consists of blood cells contained in the centre of the bones. Before the bone marrow transplant takes place, the patient’s existing cells are destroyed using radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
A bone marrow transplant enables doctors to treat cancers such as leukaemia aggressively with large doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy which destroy abnormal cells produced in the body.