Donor marrow transplantation can cure chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Unfortunately, the procedure is associated with severe complications and is limited to the minority of potential recipients with suitably matched donors. Autologous marrow transplantation using negative selection approaches such as incubation with gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) can produce cytogenetic and clinical remissions, but they are often associated with recurrent evidence of leukemia. A primitive progenitor population can be separated from normal human marrow on the basis of morphologic characteristics and cell surface antigen expression. Cell populations with similar morphologic and phenotypic characteristics obtained by positive selection from the marrow of patients with CML appear to be benign. Benign primitive and committed progenitors selected in this fashion can be expanded ex vivo when cultured in a "Transwell" system which physically separates hematopoietic cells from stromal feeder layers. Positive selection and ex vivo cultivation of benign progenitors from CML marrow may provide a source of hematopoietic stem cells suitable for autologous marrow transplantation. Autologous natural killer (NK) cells obtained from the peripheral blood of patients with CML are of benign origin and have antileukemia activity. Interleukin 2 (IL-2) activated autologous NK cells may be used in post-transplant cellular therapy to prevent recurrence of CML.