What Is Bone Marrow?

Bone marrow is the factory that produces our blood cells and the cells that make up our immune system. It can be found inside a number of large bones in our body and looks like a pink, fatty gel. The bone marrow produces red blood cells which carry oxygen, platelets which help our blood to clot and white blood cells which help fight infection and are an important part of our immune system.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the experts in our Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Program perform bone marrow transplants as a treatment option for certain types of cancer and other conditions in which the marrow is affected. Bone marrow may be damaged or malfunction if a person is:

  • Diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma or other types of cancer
  • Diagnosed with aplastic anemia
  • Treated with chemotherapy or other medications which can affect the marrow
  • Born with inherited abnormalities of red blood cells (such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia), inherited abnormalities of white blood cells that cause an immune deficiency or inherited abnormalities of platelets that lead to bleeding problems

Patients with disorders that primarily affect the marrow, such as leukemia, aplastic anemia or inherited disorders, may require a blood or bone marrow transplant from a donor, also called an allogeneic transplant. Patients with lymphoma, multiple myeloma and some other cancers may require an autologous blood or bone marrow transplant, where the patient serves as his or her own donor. At Moffitt, our team can help explain which type of transplant is best for you.

If you would like to learn more about receiving a bone marrow transplant at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online.