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What are blood stem cells?

Blood stem cells are the starter cells responsible for making all the body's blood cells. Stem cells are able to divide to make new cells. They can become red blood cells that carry oxygen to every part of the body, white blood cells that protect the body by fighting germs, or platelets that plug cuts to stop bleeding.

Cheryl Taylor
Oncology Nursing Specialist

Blood stem cells originate in the bone marrow. They can produce red blood cell, white blood cells and platelets. The body regulates the production of these cells.

Blood stem cells are immature blood cells. They are capable of producing more blood-forming stem cells, or they can mature into white blood cells, platelets or red blood cells. They can be taken from bone marrow, the umbilical cord or the bloodstream. Stem cells that are within bone marrow—that is, the spongy tissue inside of bones—produce blood cells. Bone marrow which is infused into the blood stream can fill cavities in depleted bones and resume production of normal blood cells.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.