Advances in Pluripotent Stem Cells: History, Mechanisms, Technologies, and Applications

Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2020 Feb;16(1):3-32. doi: 10.1007/s12015-019-09935-x.


Over the past 20 years, and particularly in the last decade, significant developmental milestones have driven basic, translational, and clinical advances in the field of stem cell and regenerative medicine. In this article, we provide a systemic overview of the major recent discoveries in this exciting and rapidly developing field. We begin by discussing experimental advances in the generation and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), next moving to the maintenance of stem cells in different culture types, and finishing with a discussion of three-dimensional (3D) cell technology and future stem cell applications. Specifically, we highlight the following crucial domains: 1) sources of pluripotent cells; 2) next-generation in vivo direct reprogramming technology; 3) cell types derived from PSCs and the influence of genetic memory; 4) induction of pluripotency with genomic modifications; 5) construction of vectors with reprogramming factor combinations; 6) enhancing pluripotency with small molecules and genetic signaling pathways; 7) induction of cell reprogramming by RNA signaling; 8) induction and enhancement of pluripotency with chemicals; 9) maintenance of pluripotency and genomic stability in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); 10) feeder-free and xenon-free culture environments; 11) biomaterial applications in stem cell biology; 12) three-dimensional (3D) cell technology; 13) 3D bioprinting; 14) downstream stem cell applications; and 15) current ethical issues in stem cell and regenerative medicine. This review, encompassing the fundamental concepts of regenerative medicine, is intended to provide a comprehensive portrait of important progress in stem cell research and development. Innovative technologies and real-world applications are emphasized for readers interested in the exciting, promising, and challenging field of stem cells and those seeking guidance in planning future research direction.

Keywords: Advances; Applications; Stem Cells; Technologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics*
  • Genomic Instability / genetics
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Regenerative Medicine


  • Biocompatible Materials