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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;811:255-75. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-8739-0_13.

Stem cells and nanomaterials.

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Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA,


Because of their ability to self-renew and differentiate into many cell types, stem cells offer the potential to be used for tissue regeneration and engineering. Much progress has recently been made in our understanding of the biology of stem cells and our ability to manipulate their proliferation and differentiation to obtain functional tissues. Similarly, nanomaterials have been recently developed that will accelerate discovery of mechanisms driving stem cell fate and their utilization in medicine. Nanoparticles have been developed that allow the labeling and tracking of stem cells and their differentiated phenotype within an organism. Nanosurfaces are engineered that mimic the extracellular matrix to which stem cells adhere and migrate. Scaffolds made of functionalized nanofibers can now be used to grow stem cells and regenerate damaged tissues and organs. However, the small scale of nanomaterials induces changes in their chemical and physical properties that might modify their interactions with cells and tissues, and render them toxic to stem cells. Therefore a thorough understanding of stem cell-nanomaterial interactions is still necessary not only to accelerate the success of medical treatments but also to ensure the safety of the tools provided by these novel technologies.

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