DR ROB STEPNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR ROB STEPNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Treatment of acute leukaemia by bone marrow transplant: doctors harvest 1 litre of a young woman's bone marrow, prior to her undergoing intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy which will destroy her bone marrow as well as leukaemia cells. Such radical therapy is required to disable her immune system and thus prevent a rejection of bone marrow due to be transplanted from the donor, her brother. Taking a quantity of the patient's 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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