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|Anatomical terms of microanatomy|
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In cell biology, a precursor cell, also called a blast cell or simply blast, is a partially differentiated cell, usually referred to as a unipotent cell that has lost most of its stem cell properties. A precursor cell is also known as a progenitor cell but progenitor cells are multipotent. Precursor cells are known as the intermediate cell before they become differentiated after being a stem cell.
Usually a precursor cell is a stem cell which has the capacity to differentiate into only one cell type. Sometimes precursor cell is used as an alternative term for unipotent stem cells.
A blastoma is a type of cancer created by malignancies of precursor cells.
In embryology, precursor cells are a group of cells that differentiate later into one organ.
Precursor cells, and progenitor cells, have many potential uses in medicine. There is research being done to use these cells to build heart valves, blood vessels and other tissues, by using blood and muscle precursor, or progenitor cells.
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