What are stem cells?
At Matchis, when we talk about stem cells, we mean blood stem cells.
Stem cells are special types of cells. They are located in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft soft tissue that is located within the central cavities of various bones in the body. Like other stem cells, they can self-renew, or copy themselves. Stemcells also produce the different types of specialized cells found in the blood: both red blood cells and the many kinds of white blood cells needed by the body’s immune system.
- Red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body through hemoglobin that binds oxygen.
- White blood cells defend the body against foreign substances and invaders and help clean up dead cells in the body.
- Platelets play an important role in blood clotting.
While you are reading this, your stem cells are producing new cells. This goes on all day long. About 350 million platelets and red and white cells are produced per minute. After a stem cell donation, the body replenishes the cells within a short period of time.
Stem cells have two important functions:
- Maintaining the amount of blood cells in your body
- Ensure extra production of blood cells in case of infection or bleeding
As a stem cell donor you only donate blood stem cells. Your body is constantly producing stem cells, so you can easily miss them.
Nowadays, stem cells are often in the news because they may contribute to the recovery of diseased or damaged organs. At Matchis we are only concerned with the donation process of blood stem cells for a patient. We do not conduct stem cell research at Matchis.
Are you a student, student or teacher and do you want to do a lesson, lecture or profile paper on stem cell donation, read more about our educational packages (only available in Dutch).