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Adult stem cell plasticity: fact or artifact?

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, Cell Biology Unit, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


There has been unprecedented recent interest in stem cells, mainly because of the hope they offer for cell therapy. Adult stem cells are an attractive source of cells for therapy, especially in view of the recent claims that they are remarkably plastic in their developmental potential when exposed to new environments. Some of these claims have been either difficult to reproduce or shown to be misinterpretations, leaving the phenomenon of adult stem cell plasticity under a cloud. There are, however, other examples of plasticity where differentiated cells or their precursors can be reprogrammed by extracellular cues to alter their character in ways that could have important implications for cell therapy and other forms of regenerative treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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