Potential Clinical Applications of Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019:1201:1-22. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-31206-0_1.


The field of regenerative medicine is looking for a pluripotent/multipotent stem cell able to differentiate across germ layers and be safely employed in therapy. Unfortunately, with the exception of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) for hematological applications, the current clinical results with stem cells are somewhat disappointing. The potential clinical applications of the more primitive embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have so far been discouraging, as both have exhibited several problems, including genomic instability, a risk of teratoma formation, and the possibility of rejection. Therefore, the only safe stem cells that have so far been employed in regenerative medicine are monopotent stem cells, such as the abovementioned HSPCs or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from postnatal tissues. However, their monopotency, and therefore limited differentiation potential, is a barrier to their broader application in the clinic. Interestingly, results have accumulated indicating that adult tissues contain rare, early-development stem cells known as very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs), which can differentiate into cells from more than one germ layer. This chapter addresses different sources of stem cells for potential clinical application and their advantages and problems to be solved.

Keywords: Embryonic stem cells; Extracellular microvesicles; Genomic instability; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Monopotent stem cells; Nuclear transfer; Paracrine effects; Pluripotent stem cells; Teratoma formation; Therapeutic cloning; Tissue-committed stem cells; Very small embryonic-like stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Germ Layers / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Regenerative Medicine / trends*