Understanding Bone Marrow Scarring

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Topics include: Understanding

What is bone marrow scarring, and what does it mean related to your diagnosis? MPN expert Dr. David Snyder from City of Hope explains bone marrow scarring, the consequences of this scarring, and how it affects the spleen and your care.

This event was produced in association with City of Hope and sponsored by Patient Empowerment Network through educational grants from Incyte Corporation and Geron Corporation.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

 So related to myelofibrosis, I just want to get it. We talked about scarring in the bone marrow. If I had surgery and I had a scar, okay, it’s not a big deal. Why is scarring in the bone marrow, Dr. Snyder, a big deal?

Dr. Snyder:

So, you know, when there’s scarring in the bone marrow, a few things happen. You can think of that the space available for the cell production is getting limited, the scar kind of crowding out the normal bone marrow cells. And usually, cell production goes down, in terms of hemoglobin, red cells and platelets.

Although you may actually have white cell counts that are normal to high in this condition. Part of that is because the spleen comes into the picture. And as you get more scarring in the bone marrow, the spleen starts to grow, and it does that for a couple of reasons. One is that it can become like a bone marrow organ itself.

It can be the place where blood cells are produced, and it can enlarge because of that. It also can become scarred as well, like the bone marrow does. But those are the main consequences of the scarring.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. And so when you get an enlarged spleen, this is the spleen trying to do a job that the bone marrow’s not doing very well?

Dr. Snyder:

That’s certainly one of the driving forces. You think about it, it’s an ontogeny as you go through embryo development. And there are different organs that serve as the blood-producing organs. It starts with the yolk sac, and then it’s the liver and then the spleen and finally the bone marrow. So if the bone marrow is not able to do its job, the body’s able to kind of shift, and the spleen can start taking over and the liver as well over time.

Andrew Schorr:

So that’s why my doctor checks my spleen size and my liver when I go for a checkup.              

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on July 10, 2014