White Blood Cell Disorders

What are white blood cell disorders?

For the most in-depth information, visit our white blood cell disorders page on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website.

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
  • platelets, which seal wounds and stop bleeding
  • white blood cells, also called “leukocytes,” which help fight infections

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

  • neutrophils, which fight bacteria and fungal infections
  • lymphocytes, which fight viruses, produce antibodies, and regulate the immune system
  • monocytes/macrophages, which are "professional" germ-eating cells
  • eosinophils and basophils, both of which help 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.

How we approach white blood cell disorders at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

Patients with white blood cell disorders are treated at the Blood Disorders Center within 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:

  • 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?