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Stem Cell Research in Cell Transplantation: An Analysis of Geopolitical Influence by Publications

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One of the fastest growing fields in researching treatments for neurodegenerative and other disorders is the use of stem cells. These cells are naturally occurring and can be obtained from three different stages of an organism's life: embryonic, fetal, and adult. In the US, political doctrine has restricted use of federal funds for stem cells, enhancing research towards an adult source. In order to determine how this legislation may be represented by the stem cell field, a retrospective analysis of stem cell articles published in the journal Cell Transplantation over a 2-year period was performed. Cell Transplantation is considered a translational journal from preclinical to clinical, so it was of interest to determine the publication outcome of stem cell articles 6 years after the US regulations. The distribution of the source of stem cells was found to be biased towards the adult stage, but relatively similar over the embryonic and fetal stages. The fetal stem cell reports were primarily neural in origin, whereas the adult stem cell ones were predominantly mesenchymal and used mainly in neural studies. The majority of stem cell studies published in Cell Transplantation were found to fall under the umbrella of neuroscience research. American scientists published the most articles using stem cells with a bias towards adult stem cells, supporting the effect of the legislation, whereas Europe was the leading continent with a bias towards embryonic and fetal stem cells, where research is “controlled” but not restricted. Japan was also a major player in the use of stem cells. Allogeneic transplants (where donor and recipient are the same species) were the most common transplants recorded, although the transplantation of human-derived stem cells into rodents was the most common specific transplantation performed. This demonstrates that the use of stem cells is an increasingly important field (with a doubling of papers between 2005 and 2006), which is likely to develop into a major therapeutic area over the next few decades and that funding restrictions can affect the type of research being performed.
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Keywords: Adult; Embryonic; Fetal; Stem cells; Transplants; Trophic factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA

Publication date: 2007-08-01

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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