Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during their early life and growth. These stem cells serve as an internal repair system in many tissues within the body, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person is alive.
Haematopoietic Stem Cells
The stem cells that form blood and immune cells are known as haematopoietic stem cells (HSC). They are responsible for the constant renewal of blood – the production of billions of new blood cells each day.
Sources of Haematopoietic Stem Cells
HSCs are found in the bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood. HSCs from these sources are used to treat blood cancers and blood disorders.
Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), otherwise known as blood stem cell transplantation, is the process of giving a patient healthy HSCs to help replace the blood stem cells that have been affected by blood cancers or other blood disorders. The stem cell donor and recipient must be Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) compatible for a HSCT to be successful. The donor cells will then be infused into the recipient where it will travel to the bone marrow to initiate blood cell production.