The concept of Regenerative Medicine combined with Cell based Therapy and Tissue Engineering represents the fourth pillar of healthcare and provides a promising approach for the treatment of serious diseases. Recently, cell based therapies are focused on the use of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs). Human MSCs, that represent a mesoderm derived population of progenitors, are easily expanded in culture. They are capable to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes and exhibit the potential to repair or regenerate damaged tissues. The best characterized source of human MSCs to date is the bone marrow; recently, fetal sources, such as amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, amniotic membranes, or placenta, have also attracted increased attention. Thus, MSCs may represent a valuable tool for tissue repair and cell therapeutic applications. To this end, the main focus of this review is to summarize and evaluate the key characteristics, the sources, and the potential use of MSCs in therapeutic approaches and modalities.
Keywords: Regenerative Medicine; fetal cells; mesenchymal stem/stromal cells; paracrine action; secretome.