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Red marrow contains blood stem cells that can become red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that become mature blood cells over time.

These abnormal white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets are also called leukemia cells or blasts.

Leukemia cells can build up in the bone marrow and blood so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer.

When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.

Combination chemotherapy is treatment using more than one anticancer drug.

The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the subtype of AML being treated and whether leukemia cells have spread to the brain and spinal cord. Anticancer drugs are injected into the intrathecal space, which is the space that holds the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, shown in blue). One way, shown in the top part of the figure, is to inject the drugs into an Ommaya reservoir (a dome-shaped container that is placed under the scalp during surgery; it holds the drugs as they flow through a small tube into the brain).

The myeloblasts in AML are abnormal and do not become healthy white blood cells.

Sometimes in AML, too many stem cells become abnormal red blood cells or platelets.

Bone marrow is found in the center of most bones and has many blood vessels.