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Transpl Immunol. 2004 Apr;12(3-4):203-9.

Cell therapy using human embryonic stem cells.

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Biotechnology Interdisciplinary Unit, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.


Cell therapy refers to the transplantation of healthy, functional and propagating cells to restore the viability or function of deficient tissues. Stem cells are characterized by self-renewal and the potential to form differentiated cells. In early mammalian embryos, at the blastocyst stage, the inner cell mass is pluripotent. Thus, it has been recognized that human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), which are derived from such cells of blastocysts, may serve as a source of numerous types of differentiated cells. The first part of this review summarizes different techniques for the derivation and maintenance of undifferentiated hESCs. In the second part, issues concerning the safety and bulk production, which may enable hESCs use in future clinical applications, are presented. The last part of this review details accumulated data regarding the in vitro differentiation potential of hESCs.

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