Stem cells are the body’s primary cells. All other cells, tissue, organs and bones develop from stem cells.
Blood stem cells – also known as haematopoietic stem cells – are found in our bone marrow. Blood stem cells make lots of different blood cells, which all play a specific and vital part in keeping our blood healthy.
For example, blood stem cells can create red blood cells, which carry oxygen around our body and white blood cells, which help us fight infections.
Our red and white blood cells don’t live very long. So we depend on stem cells to continuously make fresh blood cells to replace the ones that expire naturally.
For us to be healthy, our blood stem cells need to produce exactly the right amount of each type of blood cell. If this carefully controlled process goes wrong, someone might develop a blood cancer like leukaemia or another blood disease or disorder.
Find out more about how stem cells and bone marrow are used for transplants.
Information published: 06/10/16
Next review due: 06/10/19