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Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Sep;7(3):748-59. doi: 10.1007/s12015-010-9216-4.

New approaches in the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells toward hepatocytes.

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  • 1Transplant Research Program, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California Davis Medical Center, 4635 2nd Ave. Suite 1001, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.

Abstract

Orthotropic liver transplantation is the only established treatment for end-stage liver diseases. Utilization of hepatocyte transplantation and bio-artificial liver devices as alternative therapeutic approaches requires an unlimited source of hepatocytes. Stem cells, especially embryonic stem cells, possessing the ability to produce functional hepatocytes for clinical applications and drug development, may provide the answer to this problem. New discoveries in the mechanisms of liver development and the emergence of induced pluripotent stem cells in 2006 have provided novel insights into hepatocyte differentiation and the use of stem cells for therapeutic applications. This review is aimed towards providing scientists and physicians with the latest advancements in this rapidly progressing field.

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