Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to be effective in the management of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) due to their immunomodulatory effects. In addition to prevention and treatment of GVHD, many studies have demonstrated that MSCs can promote hematopoietic engraftment,
accelerate lymphocyte recovery, reduce the risk of graft failure, and repair tissue damage in patients receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Bone marrow (BM) has been considered as the traditional source of MSCs, and most of the knowledge concerning MSCs comes from BM studies.
However, BM-derived MSCs have several limitations for their clinical application. Fetal-type MSCs can be isolated easier and proliferate faster in vitro as well as possessing a lower immunogenicity. Therefore, fetal-type MSCs, such as umbilical cord-derived MSCs, represent an excellent alternative
source of MSCs. MSCs play multiple important roles in HSCT. Nevertheless, several issues regarding their clinical application remain to be discussed, including the safety of use in humans, the available sources and the convenience of obtaining MSCs, the quality control of in vitro-cultured
MSCs and the appropriate cell passages, the optimum cell dose, and the optimum number of infusions. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate whether the rates of cancer relapse and infections increase when using MSCs for GVHD. There are still many questions regarding the clinical application
of MSCs to HSCT that need to be answered, and further studies are warranted.
Department of Pediatrics, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC
Publication date: April 1, 2013
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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.