Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They serve as a repair system for the body. There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Stem cells are different from other cells in the body in three ways:
- They can divide and renew themselves over a long time
- They are unspecialized, so they cannot do specific functions in the body
- They have the potential to become specialized cells, such as muscle cells, blood cells, and brain cells
Doctors and scientists are excited about stem cells because they could help in many different areas of health and medical research. Studying stem cells may help explain how serious conditions such as birth defects and cancer come about. Stem cells may one day be used to make cells and tissues for therapy of many diseases. Examples include Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
- Cord Blood Testing and Banking (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Donating Peripheral Blood Stem Cells (National Marrow Donor Program)
- Donating Stem Cells and Bone Marrow (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- FDA Warns About Stem Cell Therapies (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Life after Transplant (National Marrow Donor Program)
- Planning for a Transplant -- Blood Stem Cell (Health Resources and Services Administration)
- Stem Cell Transplant Patients and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Treatment before Transplant (National Marrow Donor Program)
- About Transplantation -- Blood Stem Cell (Health Resources and Services Administration)
- Cord Blood FAQs (National Marrow Donor Program)
- Getting a Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplant (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Nine Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatments (International Society for Stem Cell Research)
- Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplant Side Effects (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Stem Cell Transplants in Cancer Treatment (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Types of Stem Cells (International Society for Stem Cell Research)
Videos and Tutorials
- Becoming a Blood Stem Cell Donor (National Cancer Institute)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hematopoietic Stem Cells (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Stem Cell Transplantation (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Stem Cells (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Stemness maintenance of stem cells derived from human exfoliated deciduous teeth...
- Article: Unveiling the potential effects of acetylsalicylic acid: insights into regeneration in...
- Article: Insights into highly engraftable hematopoietic cells from 27-year cryopreserved umbilical cord...
- Stem Cells -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Stem Cell Transplants (For Teens) (Nemours Foundation)