Age-old wisdom concerning cell-based therapies with added knowledge in the stem cell era: our perspectives

Stem Cells Cloning. 2013 Apr 4;6:13-8. doi: 10.2147/SCCAA.S41798. eCollection 2013.


Among the various strategies providing a cure for illness, cell-based therapies have caught the attention of the world with the advent of the "stem cell" era. Our inherent understanding indicates that stem cells have been in existence since the birth of multicellular organisms. However, the formal discovery of stem cells in the last century, followed by their intricate and extensive analysis, has led to clinical and translational efforts with the aim of using them in the treatment of conditions which don't have a definitive therapeutic strategy, has fueled our interest and expectations. Technological advances in our ability to study their cellular components in depth, along with surface markers and other finer constituents, that were unknown until last century, have improved our understanding, leading to several novel applications. This has created a need to establish guidelines, and in that process, there are expressed understandings and views which describe cell therapy along lines similar to that of biologic products, drugs, and devices. However, the age-old wisdom of using cells as tools for curing illness should not be misled by recent knowledge, to make cell therapy using highly complex stem cells equal to factory-synthesized and reproducible chemical compounds, drugs, or devices. This article analyses the differences between these two entities from various perspectives.

Keywords: cell transplantation; drugs; regenerative medicine; stem cells.