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stem cellsPluripotential progenitor cells from which a whole class of cells differentiate. A stem cell in the bone marrow, for instance, gives rise to the entire range of immune system blood cells (neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes/macrophages, platelets, T cells and B cells) and the red blood cells (erythrocytes). Stem cells from embryos or umbilical cord blood have a considerable potential for medical treatment. Implanted stem cells are capable of converting to definitive tissue cells because they contain the complete genome and appropriate parts of this will be switched on in response to the new environment. Isolated adult mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to change appropriately in response to the physical density or toughness of that environment and become nerve tissue, fat, ligament, tendon, muscle, cartilage or bone. To be effective, stem cell therapy must take account of this fact.
Parent cells from which other cells are made.
Mentioned in: Amyloidosis