Challenges in Clinical Development of Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cells: Concise Review

Stem Cells Transl Med. 2019 Nov;8(11):1135-1148. doi: 10.1002/sctm.19-0044. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Identified 50 years ago, mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) immediately generated a substantial interest among the scientific community because of their differentiation plasticity and hematopoietic supportive function. Early investigations provided evidence of a relatively low engraftment rate and a transient benefit for challenging congenital and acquired diseases. The reasons for these poor therapeutic benefits forced the entire field to reconsider MSC mechanisms of action together with their ex vivo manipulation procedures. This phase resulted in advances in MSCs processing and the hypothesis that MSC-tissue supportive functions may be prevailing their differentiation plasticity, broadening the spectrum of MSCs therapeutic potential far beyond their lineage-restricted commitments. Consequently, an increasing number of studies have been conducted for a variety of clinical indications, revealing additional challenges and suggesting that MSCs are still lagging behind for a solid clinical translation. For this reason, our aim was to dissect the current challenges in the development of still promising cell types that, after more than half a century, still need to reach their maturity. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2019;8:1135-1148.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Regenerative Medicine*