Stem cells promise to treat conditions poorly served by conventional therapeutics. Cells from both embryonic and somatic tissues are being used to create cell therapies for genetic, traumatic and degenerative conditions. The current human, healthcare and fiscal costs of these conditions are significant. This review summarizes the use of stem cells for neurological and cardiac disorders and diabetes to determine the requirements for generic translational research to assist such therapies to be a reality. While there are multiple strategies in each disease area, with no clear favourite, there are clear opportunities in treatments that use a single cell type. A key requirement is to work with pluripotent progenitor cells to cultivate and differentiate a sufficiently large population of functioning cells. Challenges also arise in determining and achieving timely delivery of the correct dose of cells to where they can most effectively treat the disease and best benefit individual patients.
(c) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.