NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,777 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

hematopoietic stem cell
(hee-MA-toh-poy-EH-tik stem sel)
An immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the peripheral blood and the bone marrow. Also called blood stem cell.

EnlargeBlood cell development; drawing shows the steps a blood stem cell goes through to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.  Drawing shows a myeloid stem cell becoming a red blood cell, platelet, or myeloblast, which then becomes a white blood cell. Drawing also shows a lymphoid stem cell becoming a lymphoblast and then one of several different types of white blood cells.

Blood cell development. A blood stem cell goes through several steps to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.