Why Is Bone Marrow So Important?

Why Is Bone Marrow So Important?

Bone marrow is a very important part of the human body.  It is composed of soft, spongy tissue inside certain bones in the body.  It is also where all our blood is made and contains stem cells.  Bone marrow is technically a part of our immune system, even though it is found in our bones.  It helps protect us from infection and helps make healthy blood that can be circulated throughout our bodies.  Because of this, bone marrow has become a sought after substance that can be used to help people suffering from a wide variety of ailments.

Bone marrow contains two types of stem cells, stromal stem cells, and hematopoietic stem cells.  This bone marrow is usually found in the bigger bones of the body, such as the hip bones, ribs, vertebrae, and shoulder blades.  The stem cells found in bone marrow tend to be best at treating certain kinds of cancers, tuberculosis, bone, or heart disease.  Not all stem cells are created equal.  And certain stem cells can only treat certain kinds of conditions.  In fact, some conditions can only be treated by patients receiving bone marrow transplants.



The process of retrieving stem cells from bone marrow is not an easy one.  In order to extract stem cells from bone marrow, the bone marrow must first be extracted from the body.  This typically means inserting a needle into the iliac crest, or the back of the pelvic bone, which is a painful procedure to have done.  A general anesthetic is typically given, and the patient is required to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days.  After the bone marrow is retrieved, laboratory procedures are needed to isolate the stem cells.

Bone marrow is so important that there are multiple bone marrow donation sites set up throughout the United States.  Bone marrow matching can be a very difficult process.  For that reason, organizations such as Be The Match, encourage people to register for bone marrow donation in the event they are a match with someone who needs it.  Healthy bone marrow is absolutely necessary to keep a person alive.  And, for those patients suffering from various blood conditions such as leukemia, the stem cells found within bone marrow can make the difference between life and death.

Bone marrow is absolutely necessary for healthy functioning.  It is the birthplace of blood cells and contains stem cells that can help with a variety of ailments.  Because of its many applications, bone marrow donation centers are now a very common occurrence in the United States.  While it is painful and contains some level of risk to be a bone marrow donor, donated bone marrow can mean the difference between life and death.  Stem cells derived from bone marrow cannot be used to treat all conditions.  However, they can be used to treat many common conditions present in patients.  The process of extracting stem cells from bone marrow is a complicated one.  However, it is a necessary form of treatment for patients living with certain diseases.


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