Human stem cells are scalable cell populations capable of cellular differentiation. This makes them a very attractive in vitro cellular resource and in theory provides unlimited amounts of primary cells. Such an approach has the potential to improve our understanding of human biology and treating disease. In the future it may be possible to deploy novel stem cell-based approaches to treat human liver diseases. In recent years, efficient hepatic differentiation from human stem cells has been achieved by several research groups including our own. In this review we provide an overview of the field and discuss the future potential and limitations of stem cell technology.
Keywords: Bio-artificial liver; Differentiation; Hepatocyte-like cells; Liver development; Pluripotent stem cells; Polymer chemistry; Regenerative medicine; Transplantation.