What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the human body’s raw materials. Your body uses stem cells to create new cells with specific functions — including blood cells that carry oxygen and fight disease.

How do bone marrow stem cells work?

Bone marrow is spongy tissue inside your bones that makes a type of stem cell called a hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell. These cells are also found in the bloodstream and umbilical cord blood. Hematopoietic stem cells develop into three types of blood cells:

  • Red blood cells: These cells carry oxygen throughout your body. They also carry carbon dioxide to your lungs to be exhaled.
  • White blood cells: These cells attack bacteria and viruses that cause illness and infection.
  • Platelets: These blood cell fragments bind together to seal small breaks on blood vessel walls, and they help blood clot.

A stem cell transplant replaces unhealthy, damaged or destroyed stem cells in your bone marrow with healthy ones. Depending on the disease being treated, you may be able to donate and use your own stem cells.

Newly diagnosed? Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

Conditions that may require a bone marrow stem cell transplant

Your doctor may recommend a stem cell transplant if the radiation or chemotherapy you need to treat cancer may damage or destroy bone marrow. A stem cell transplant can also treat certain diseases that affect red and white blood cells.

Stem cell transplants are a potential treatment for:

Stem cell transplant at Henry Ford

Henry Ford provides all types of stem cell transplant and cellular therapy. Our experienced transplant teams perform procedures at one of Michigan’s first stem cell transplant patient units.

Our team works closely with you to customize a treatment plan and find the right donor match. Learn what to expect from stem cell transplant and cellular therapy.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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