Research Topic

The impact of stem cells in regenerative medicine

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Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cells which can differentiate into all cell types needed for cell therapy of severe diseases. However, the immunogenicity of hESCs is not yet well understood; therefore immuno-rejection after grafting is not excluded. In addition, the number of human embryos ...

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cells which can differentiate into all cell types needed for cell therapy of severe diseases. However, the immunogenicity of hESCs is not yet well understood; therefore immuno-rejection after grafting is not excluded. In addition, the number of human embryos available for derivation of large numbers of hESC lines is limited and may raise ethical charges.
The recently successful reprogramming of mouse and human fibroblasts resulting in iPS cells has opened the door to the possibility of generating patient-specific pluripotent cells. Four RGs (either Oct-4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4 or Oct-4, Sox2, Nanog and Lin28) were shown to be sufficient to reprogram human fibroblast to undifferentiated iPS cells. The derived iPS cells had normal karyotypes, expressed telomerase activity, expressed cell surface markers and genes that characterize hESCs, and maintained developmental potential to differentiate into advanced derivatives of all three primary germ layers.
The impact of this field in basic research and in regenerative medicine led as to dedicate a Research Topic about this theme. This Research Topic will display the different methods of derivation of hESC and iPS cells, the understanding of the mechanisms ruling the reprogramming process, the use of such cells to understand organ physiology and to dissect diseases pathways, and of course we have to develop a chapter on the ethics point of view.


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