Exogenous cell-based therapy has emerged as a promising new strategy to facilitate repair of hearts damaged by acute or chronic injury. However, the field of cell-based therapy is handicapped by the lack of standardized definitions and terminology, making comparisons across studies challenging. Even the term 'stem cell therapy' is misleading because only a small percentage of cells derived from adult bone marrow, peripheral blood, or adipose tissue meets the accepted haematopoietic or developmental definition of stem cells. Furthermore, cells (stem or otherwise) are dynamic biological products, meaning that their surface-marker expression, phenotypic and functional characteristics, and the products they secrete in response to their microenvironment can change. It is also important to point out that most surface markers are seldom specific for a cell type. In this article, we discuss the lack of consistency in the descriptive terminology used in cell-based therapies and offer guidelines aimed at standardizing nomenclature and definitions to improve communication among investigators and the general public.
Keywords: Cell therapy; Clinical trials; Nomenclature; Progenitor cells; Regenerative medicine; Stem cells.
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