‘Bone Marrow Miner’

Daniel Kraft designed the Marrow Miner — a new device that quickly harvests life-saving bone marrow with minimal pain to the donor. The adult stem cells found in bone marrow can be used to treat many terminal conditions, from Parkinson’s to heart disease or leukemia.

Daniel is a pediatric cancer doctor and stem-cell researcher at Stanford University where his clinical focus has been bone marrow transplantation. After realizing that the bone marrow harvesting procedure hasn’t changed in about 40 years, Daniel designed a new more efficient and pain free approach, which also gets about 10 times the stem cell activity in the marrow gathered. This device was just FDA approved in the last year.


Daniel reports that “instead of entering the bone dozens of times, we enter just once, into the front of the hip or the back of the hip. And we have a flexible, powered catheter with a special wire loop tip that stays inside the crunchy part of the marrow and follows the contours of the hip, as it moves around. So it enables you to very rapidly aspirate, or suck out, rich bone marrow very quickly through one hole. We can do multiple passes through that same entry. No robots required. And, so, very quickly, Bob can just get one puncture, local anesthesia, and do this harvest as an outpatient.”

Bone marrow is a very rich source of adult stem cells. You all know about embryonic stem cells. They’ve got great potential but haven’t yet entered clinical trials. Adult stem cells are throughout our body, including the blood-forming stem cells in our bone marrow, which we’ve been using as a form of stem-cell therapy for over 40 years. In the last decade there’s been an explosion of useof bone marrow stem cells to treat the patient’s other diseases such as heart disease, vascular disease,orthopedics, tissue engineering, even in neurology to treat Parkinson’s and diabetes.”

This technology can encourage more people to sign up to be potential live-saving bone marrow donors. It can also enable individuals to easier “bank” their own marrow stem cells, when they are younger and healthier, to be used in the future should they need it. 

You can watch Daniel make a presentation about this technology at this TED Conference: