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Testing umbilical cord blood. Nurse preparing smears of blood collected from a donated human placenta for the harvesting of umbilical cord stem cells. The blood will be screened for disease and tissue typed. The stem cells, which are able to develop into any type of blood cell, can be used to treat a number of diseases, including cancers, genetic diseases and blood disorders. The placenta lines the uterus (womb) during pregnancy, providing the foetus with oxygen and nutrients and removing waste products. The umbilical cord attaches the placenta to the foetus. Blood stem cells are harvested from the placenta and umbilical cord and cryogenically stored (frozen).
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