Is this about stem cell research?

The first thing to understand about stem cell transplantation (SCT) is that this therapy has nothing to do with highly-controversial embryonic stem cell research.

First performed in 1956, SCT refers to the use of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that live in marrow, the spongy tissue inside our bones. HSCs are able to divide and grow into all different types of blood cells: red blood cells, which carry oxygen; white blood cells, which fight infection; and platelets, which help blood to clot (figure, below).

Understanding bone marrowThe goal of SCT, after killing the patient’s own cancerous bone marrow with very high-dose chemo (and sometimes radiation), is to repopulate the marrow with healthy donor stem cells that can reconstitute the patient’s blood system.


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