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Stem Cell Research in Cell Transplantation: Sources, Geopolitical Influence, and Transplantation

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If the rapidly progressing field of stem cell research reaches its full potential, successful treatments and enhanced understanding of many diseases are the likely results. However, the full potential of stem cell science will only be reached if all possible avenues can be explored and on a worldwide scale. Until 2009, the US had a highly restrictive policy on obtaining cells from human embryos and fetal tissue, a policy that pushed research toward the use of adult-derived cells. Currently, US policy is still in flux, and retrospective analysis does show the US lagging behind the rest of the world in the proportional increase in embryonic/fetal stem cell research. The majority of US studies being on either a limited number of cell lines, or on cells derived elsewhere (or funded by other sources than Federal) rather than on freshly isolated embryonic or fetal material. Neural, mesenchymal, and the mixed stem cell mononuclear fraction are the most commonly investigated types, which can generally be classified as adult-derived stem cells, although roughly half of the neural stem cells are fetal derived. Other types, such as embryonic and fat-derived stem cells, are increasing in their prominence, suggesting that new types of stem cells are still being pursued. Sixty percent of the reported stem cell studies involved transplantation, of which over three quarters were allogeneic transplants. A high proportion of the cardiovascular systems articles were on allogeneic transplants in a number of different species, including several autologous studies. A number of pharmaceutical grade stem cell products have also recently been tested and reported on. Stem cell research shows considerable promise for the treatment of a number of disorders, some of which have entered clinical trials; over the next few years it will be interesting to see how these treatments progress in the clinic.
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Keywords: Allogeneic; Autologous; Cell transplantation; Regenerative medicine; Stem cells

Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: 01 November 2010

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