Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is the intravenous infusion of hemopoietic stern cells and progenitor cells with the aim to fe-establish normal marrow function and immunity in a recipient with damaged or defective bone marrow (BM). Although some have traced the origin of this procedure to the end of the past century, when patients were given bone marrow orally as trcatment for hematologic disorders, a more realistic starting point is a 1939 report of a patient who received intravenously 18 ml of marrow from his brother as a treatment for aplastic anemia. The beginning of modern BMT can be traced to experiments showing that rodents could be protected against lethal hemopoietic injury by the intravenous infusion of BM. The extensive studies on BMT in animal models, the subsequent identification of transplantation antigens and the development of techniques for freezing and thawing hemopoietic cells laid the groundwork for the difficult and time-consuming clinical trials that have brought BMT to its present, albeit imperfect, state. Few areas in medicine illustrates well the development of a new treatment through the close interaction between advances in laboratory and in clinical science. In the late 1960s, the first successful allogeneic bone marrow transplantations have been performed which led to the gradual acceptance of this therapy. Autologous BMT was first successfully employed to cure patients with lymphoma in the late 1970s, and its lise became widespread in the 1980s.

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A. Hagenbeek (Anton)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), Ghisela Thier Foundation (Leiden University)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kloosterman, Th.C. (1995, April 12). Graft-versus-leukemia : applicable in the treatment of leukemia with bone marrow transplantation? : preclinical studies in rat models relevant for human acute leukemia. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from