Aplastic Anemia

What is aplastic anemia?

The bone marrow produces all blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells contain the protein hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues. White blood cells fight infection. Platelets are important for blood to clot.

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow produces too few of these cells. Too few red blood cells lead to a decrease in hemoglobin and symptoms of fatigue. A reduced number of neutrophils (a major type of white blood cell important for defense against bacterial and fungal infections) increases susceptibility to infection. Too few platelets leads to increased risk of bleeding or bruising.

Aplastic Anemia Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

Children and young adults with aplastic anemia are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Bone Marrow Failure Program, recognized as one of the nation’s best pediatric treatment and research programs for bone marrow failure and related conditions. Our patients have access to advanced treatments and diagnosis, including DNA mutation identification and ongoing clinical trials investigating new treatments. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is also home to one of the largest and most experienced pediatric stem cell transplant centers in the world. Stem cell (bone marrow) transplant is currently the only cure for aplastic anemia.

Learn more

Find more in-depth information on aplastic anemia on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including answers to:

  • What causes aplastic anemia?
  • What are the symptoms of aplastic anemia?
  • How is aplastic anemia diagnosed?
  • How is aplastic anemia treated?
  • What is the long-term outlook for children with aplastic anemia?
  • What is the latest research on aplastic anemia?