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Cell Transplant. 1998 Nov-Dec;7(6):525-39.

Xenogeneic cell therapy: current progress and future developments in porcine cell transplantation.

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Diacrin Inc., Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


The multitude of distinct cell types present in mature and developing tissues display unique physiologic characteristics. Cellular therapy is a novel technology with the promise of utilizing this diversity to treat a wide range of human degenerative diseases. Intractable diseases, disorders, and injuries are characterized by cell death or aberrant cellular function. Cell transplantation can replace diseased or lost tissue to provide restorative therapy for these conditions. The limited use of cell transplants as a basis for current therapy can, in part, be attributed to the lack of available human cells suitable for transplantation. This has prevented further realization of the promise of cell transplantation as a platform technology. Accordingly, cell-based therapies such as blood transfusions, for which the cells are readily available, are a standard part of current medical practice. Despite numerous attempts to expand primary human cells in tissue culture, current technological limitations of this approach in regard to proliferative capacity and maintenance of the differentiated phenotype has prevented their use for transplantation. Further, use of human stem cells for the derivation of specific cell types for transplantation is an area of future application with great potential, but hurdles remain in regard to deriving and sufficiently expanding these multipotential cells. Thus, it appears that primary cells are at present a superior source for transplantation. This review focuses on pigs as a source of a variety of primary cells to advance cell therapy to the clinic and implement achievement of its full potential. We outline the advantages and disadvantages of xenogeneic cell therapy while underscoring the utility of transplantable porcine cells for the treatment of human disease.

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