Why are stem cells taken from the umbilical cord?

Stem cells are unspecialised cells that have the capacity to develop into more specialised cells, such as skin, blood or liver cells.

22nd July 2009
Why are stem cells taken from the umbilical cord? (iStock)

Asked by: Caitlin Anderson, Tewkesbury

There are two basic types of stem cell - those found in the developing embryo, and those found in much smaller numbers in adults.

Those from the umbilical cord are hematopoietic (in other words, blood-forming) cells, similar to those found in adults, but less mature and more able to develop into other types - hence their value.

 


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