, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 33-42
Date: 28 Sep 2008

Placenta-derived stem cells: new hope for cell therapy?

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An urgent current need in regenerative medicine is that of identifying a plentiful, safe and ethically acceptable stem cell source for the development of therapeutic strategies to restore functionality in damaged or diseased organs and tissues. In this context, human term placenta represents a prime candidate, as it is available in nearly unlimited supply, is ethically problem-free and easily procured. Placental cells display differentiation capacity toward all three germ layers, while also displaying immunomodulatory effects, therefore supporting the possibility that they could be applied in an allogeneic transplantation setting. Although promising data have been reported to date, further study is required to fully characterize the differentiation potential of placenta-derived cells and to identify their possible clinical applications. Here, we provide a snapshot of current knowledge regarding the potential of cells from the amniotic membrane of human term placenta to address current shortcomings in the field of regenerative medicine.