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What Are White Blood Cell Disorders?

  • Blood is made up of three different types of blood cells, all of which are produced by the bone marrow:

    • red blood cells, which carry oxygen
    • white blood cells, also called "leukocytes," which help fight infections
    • platelets, which seal wounds and stop bleeding

    There are several different types of white blood cells, each having a specific role in protecting the body from infection:

    • neutrophils – fight bacterial and fungal infection
    • lymphocytes – fight viruses, produce antibodies, and regulate the immune syste
    • monocytes/macrophages – "professional" germ-eating cell
    • eosinophils and basophils – fight parasites and are related to allergic responses

    Many disorders can cause the bone marrow to produce too many or too few white blood cells, or to produce white blood cells that do not function as they should.

    White Blood Cell Disorders Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Patients with white blood cell disorders are treated at the Blood Disorders Center within the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, where your child will receive care from some of the world’s most experienced pediatric hematologists with deep expertise in the conditions they treat.

    Learn more

    Find in-depth information on white blood cell disorders on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s website, including answers to these questions:

    • What are the types of white blood cell disorders?
    • What are the symptoms of white blood cell disorders in children?
    • How are childhood white blood cell disorders diagnosed?
    • How are white blood cell disorders treated?
    • What is the latest research on white blood cell disorders?