RECENTLY, STEM CELLS have gained a tremendous amount of attention. The scientific press emphasizes the particular values of embryonal stem cells, which presumably have true pluripotentiality. The lay press, in contrast, focuses on the discussion of topics such as the legal, moral, religious, and practical aspects of stem cell research, and particularly the indeterminate use of stem cells in the treatment of patients and the issue of harvesting embryonal stem cells. In the beginning, there was a concept that hematopoietic stem cells are only capable of producing blood cells, but now researchers have shown that hematopoietic stem cells may also show plasticity and mature into liver cells, bone cells, or new muscle cells (e.g., replacing injured myocardium). This article covers the physiology of blood, the ...

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