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What is A Stem Cell?

A stem cell is the cell from which all blood cells develop. Stem cells are produced in the bone marrow cavity and released into the blood stream to make blood cells. Blood cells are essential to life. The different types of blood cells are red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

  • Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all the organs and pick up carbon dioxide which is carried back to the lungs and expelled from the body when you exhale.

  • White blood cells are infection fighters. There are several types of white blood cells including granulocytes (also called neutrophils, polys, segs, bands, basophils and eospinophils), monocytes and lymphocytes. They work to prevent infection and they are necessary to fight infections.

  • Platelets help the blood to clot and prevent serious bleeding when you are injured, as well as perform normal repair work in your blood vessels.

Originally, it was thought that stem cells were only found in the bone marrow cavity. However, as scientists became more skilled at identifying different types of cells circulating in the blood, it was discovered that stem cells in small numbers are also found in the peripheral blood stream.

Learn more about the different types of stem cell transplants performed by Inova Fairfax Hospital Stem Cell
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