DR ROB STEPNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR ROB STEPNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Treatment of acute leukaemia by bone marrow transplant: a doctor harvests 1 litre of a young woman's bone marrow, prior to her undergoing an intensive course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy which would destroy the bone marrow as well as leukaemia cells. The radiotherapy is necessary to destroy the remaining bone marrow, and thus prevent a rejection of marrow transplanted from the donor, her brother. Taking a quantity of her own bone marrow is done as a safeguard against the transplant not succeeding. The bone marrow is removed under general anaesthesia using syringes that penetrate the iliac crests of the pelvic bones; up to 100 punctures may be needed.
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