Bone Marrow Transplant History

Definition of Bone Marrow Transplant

In bone marrow transplantation, Healthy marrow is infused into people who have had high dose chemotherapy for one of the many forms of leukemias, immunodeficiencies, lymphomas, anemias, metabolic disorders, and sometimes solid tumors.

Why we do Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant is used to rebuild the body’s capacity to produce these blood cells and bring their numbers to normal levels. Illnesses that may be treated with a bone marrow transplant include both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases.

Cancerous diseases may or may not specifically involve blood cells; but, cancer treatment can destroy the body’s ability to manufacture new blood cells.

When we Do Bone Marrow Transplant

The decision to prescribe a bone marrow transplant is based on the patient’s age, general physical condition, diagnosis and stage of the disease. A person’s age or state of health may prohibit use of a bone marrow transplant. The typical cut-off age for a transplant ranges from 40 to 55 years; however, a person’s general health is usually the more important factor.

Before undergoing a bone marrow transplant, the bone marrow transplant team will ensure that the patient understands the potential benefits and risks of the procedure.

History of bone marrow transplant

The first successful bone marrow transplant took place in 1968 at the University of Minnesota. The recipient was a child with severe combined immunodeficiency disease and the donor was a sibling. In 1973, the first unrelated bone marrow transplant was performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City on a five year old patient with severe combined immunodeficiency disease.

In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act, which included language to evaluate unrelated marrow transplantation and determine if a national donor registry was feasible. The National Bone Marrow Donor Registry (NBMDR), now called the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), was established in 1986.

The NMDP Network has more than 10 million volunteer donors (6 million domestically, and another 4 million through its relationships worldwide) and has 43 donor centers and transplant centers in 16 countries.