Stem cells: Biology and clinical potential
Stem cell technology has developed rapidly in recent years to the point that we can now envisage its future use in a variety of therapeutic areas. This review seeks to summarize the types and sources of stem cells that may be utilized in this way, their pattern of development, their plasticity in terms of differentiation and transdifferentiation, their ability to self-renew, the privileged microenvironment in which they are housed, their cell surface markers used to track them, issues relating to their transfection, and their fate. Particular reference is made, as prime examples, to how both the function of mesenchymal and neural stem cells are being studied experimentally, and currently used clinically in certain circumstances, towards the ultimate aim of their mainstream therapeutic use.
Key words: Stem cells, apoptosis, differentiation, mesenchymal and neural stem cells, therapy.