What is bone marrow ?

Stem cells within bone marrow can help produce certain blood cells and platelets
Stem cells within bone marrow can help produce certain blood cells and platelets

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. In adults, marrow in large bones produces new blood cells which helps the body to fight disease.

On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans.

Stem cells in this bone marrow produce three important types of blood cells:

Red blood cells – which carry oxygen around the body.

White blood cells – which help fight infection.

Platelets – which help stop bleeding.

Diseased or damaged bone marrow can be replaced by donated bone marrow, which helps treat, and often cure, many serious, life-threatening conditions, including:

Bone marrow failure -(severe aplastic anaemia).

Leukaemia – cancer of the white blood cells, which has several sub-types. It can also help cure certain genetic blood.

Certain immune system disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia and some severe immune system diseases.

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Blood donors needed

London's hospitals are calling for more blood and bone marrow donors. Pregnant women are also being urged to donate their placenta as part of a scheme to help seriously ill people with the blood that's found inside.