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Open Access Current Applications of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells: Possibilities and Challenges

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Stem cells are self-renewable cells with the differentiation capacity to develop into somatic cells with biological functions. This ability to sustain a renewable source of multi- and/or pluripotential differentiation has brought new hope to the field of regenerative medicine in terms of cell therapy and tissue engineering. Moreover, stem cells are invaluable tools as in vitro models for studying diverse fields, from basic scientific questions such as developmental processes and lineage commitment, to practical application including drug screening and testing. The stem cells with widest differentiation potential are pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which are rare cells with the ability to generate somatic cells from all three germ layers. PSCs are considered the most optimal choice for therapeutic potential of stem cells, bringing new impetus to the field of regenerative medicine. In this article, we discuss the therapeutic potential of human PSCs (hPSCs) including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), reviewing the current preclinical and clinical data using these stem cells. We describe the classification of different sources of hPSCs, ongoing research, and currently encountered clinical obstacles of these novel and versatile human stem cells.

Keywords: Cell therapy; Clinical trial; Differentiation; Drug development; Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs); Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Regenerative Medicine Research Group, Institute of Cellular and System Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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  • 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.
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