, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 339-376
Date: 15 Feb 2009

Strategies for future histocompatible stem cell therapy

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Stem cell therapy based on the safe and unlimited self-renewal of human pluripotent stem cells is envisioned for future use in tissue or organ replacement after injury or disease. A gradual decline of regenerative capacity has been documented among the adult stem cell population in some body organs during the aging process. Recent progress in human somatic cell nuclear transfer and inducible pluripotent stem cell technologies has shown that patient-derived nuclei or somatic cells can be reprogrammed in vitro to become pluripotent stem cells, from which the three germ layer lineages can be generated, genetically identical to the recipient. Once differentiation protocols and culture conditions can be defined and optimized, patient-histocompatible pluripotent stem cells could be directed towards virtually every cell type in the human body. Harnessing this capability to enrich for given cells within a developmental lineage, would facilitate the transplantation of organ/tissue-specific adult stem cells or terminally differentiated somatic cells to improve the function of diseased organs or tissues in an individual. Here, we present an overview of various experimental cell therapy technologies based on the use of patient-histocompatible stem cells, the pending issues needed to be dealt with before clinical trials can be initiated, evidence for the loss and/or aging of the stem cell pool and some of the possible uses of human pluripotent stem cell-derivatives aimed at curing disease and improving health.