There are many kinds of blood disorders – too many to review in detail, but broadly, they can be caused by congenital or inborn deficiencies (for example, sickle cell anemia), immune deficiencies (SCID), autoimmune mechanisms (immune thrombocytopenia purpura), and cancer (leukemia, myeloma, lymphoma). The most common therapies include blood transfusions, drug therapies and hematopoietic (blood) stem cell transplants.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) were first performed in the 1950s and are the most common form of stem cell therapy used today, and are routinely used to treat a variety of different blood-based cancers including multiple myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma, and other blood disorders, including anemia, thalassemia and severe combined immune deficiency. However, HSCT is an aggressive therapy, not without risks, and not all patients are cured. Research is continuing to improve the outcomes of HSCT and make it available for a wider range of patients.