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Arch Surg. 2004 Jan;139(1):93-9.

Stem cells: review and update.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif, USA.


Regenerative medicine and emerging biotechnologies stand to revolutionize the practice of medicine. Advancements in stem cell biology, including embryonic and postnatal somatic stem cells, have made the prospect of tissue regeneration a potential clinical reality. Short of reproductive cloning, these same technologies, properly used, could allow for the creation of replacement tissue for the deficient host. To provide a concise review for surgeons on the current science and biology of stem cells, we surveyed the scientific literature, MEDLINE, and relevant political headlines that illuminate the stem cell discussion; the issues are summarized in this review. Building on this conceptual framework, the related issues of clinical promise and the political debate enveloping this emerging technology are examined. A basic understanding of stem cell biology is paramount to stay informed of this emerging technology and the national debate.

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