The bone marrow’s job is to create red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The bone marrow houses stem cells, immature cells that can become these three types of cells. Some conditions damage the bone marrow’s ability to produce normal blood or immune cells. A bone marrow transplant replaces a person's abnormal stem cells with healthy stem cells.
The bone marrow is one of several sources of blood-forming stem cells. Other sources of blood-forming stem cells include peripheral blood (collected from a well-matched donor) and umbilical cord blood. What we call the procedure depends on where the healthy stem cells come from. Therefore, bone marrow transplant, peripheral blood stem cell transplant, and umbilical cord blood transplant are all stem cell transplants. Each stem cell source has unique advantages that your BMT doctor will discuss with you if you or your child needs a stem cell transplant.