MULTIPLE MYELOMA KNOWLEDGE CENTER

Stem Cell Transplants

What Are Stem Cells and Why Are They So Important?

Stem cells are remarkable types of cells that can divide and develop into any of the three main types of cells found in the blood. These stem cells are known specifically as hematopoietic stem cells.

  • Red blood cells, which carry energy-giving oxygen from the lungs to the entire body
  • White blood cells, which are important immune cells that play an important role in fighting bacteria and viruses that cause infection
  • Platelets, which help blood to clot when bleeding occurs

Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow, an organ which is found inside almost all the bones of the body, and in the circulating blood (also called peripheral blood). Stem cells constitute only a small fraction (less than 1%) of all cells in the bone marrow and an even smaller percentage of cells in the peripheral blood.

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