Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then, a donor's healthy blood-forming cells are inserted directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.
For a patient's body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Seventy percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match® registry—the national donor registry—to find an unrelated donor for bone marrow.