The use of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in cell-based therapy has attracted extensive interest in the field of regenerative medicine, and it shows applications to numerous incurable diseases. hMSCs show several superior properties for therapeutic use compared to other types of stem cells. Different cell types are discussed in terms of their advantages and disadvantages, with focus on the characteristics of hMSCs. hMSCs can proliferate readily and produce differentiated cells that can substitute for the targeted affected tissue. To maximize the therapeutic effects of hMSCs, a substantial number of these cells are essential, requiring extensive ex vivo cell expansion. However, hMSCs have a limited lifespan in an in vitro culture condition. The senescence of hMSCs is a double-edged sword from the viewpoint of clinical applications. Although their limited cell proliferation potency protects them from malignant transformation after transplantation, senescence can alter various cell functions including proliferation, differentiation, and migration, that are essential for their therapeutic efficacy. Numerous trials to overcome the limited lifespan of mesenchymal stem cells are discussed.
Keywords: Cell-therapy; Cellular senescence; Mesenchymal stem cell; Regenerative medicine.