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Transfusion expert tells how bone marrow transplants work

Matthew Elknis, MD, PhDBone marrow transplants offer hope to chemotherapy and other patients who lack healthy blood cells, and marrow collection methods have improved in recent years, explains Matthew Elkins, MD, PhD, Upstate‘s medical director of transfusion medicine. The marrow‘s stem cells – needed to grow healthy blood cells – can be harvested from a patient for his or her own later use, from a donor or from a newborn‘s discarded umbilical cord, he says, describing how pheresis machines have largely replaced the old needle-drawn method of harvesting. He also urges people to sign up for the national marrow donor registry