Stem CellsRecent advances in understanding and utilizing
Wake Forrest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, USA
The discovery of stem cells in rodents the 1970s was a major accomplishment for the field of developmental biology. However, it was not until the discovery of human embryonic stem cells in the 1990s that the field expanded rapidly. The use of stem cells was proposed not only for furthering... read moreresearch in the areas of developmental biology, but also for biological therapies. The pace of discovery has continued to accelerate with the report of induced pluripotent stem cells, other highly multipotent stem cells from fetal tissues, such as from the placenta and amniotic fluid, and also adult-derived stem cells from bone marrow, cord, fat, and other sources.
With every new stem cell discovery, advances in the field have been made in a wide variety of areas. For example, cell plasticity, once thought not to be possible, is now a known fact. Although many of the mechanisms behind stem cell biology remain unknown, the knowledge base around stem cell biology is growing exponentially. The use of stem cells for therapy is now being considered for many different clinical conditions, and clinical trials are currently ongoing using several cell types.