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Why are stem cells taken from the umbilical cord? © iStock

Why are stem cells taken from the umbilical cord?

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

Asked by: Caitlin Anderson, Tewkesbury

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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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