Editorial - Present Status and Future Trends in Adult and Embryonic Stem Cell Research



Kuldip S. Sidhu
Stem Cell Lab, Faculty of Medicine, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


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Sidhu et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Stem Cell Lab, Faculty of Medicine, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. k.sidhu@unsw.edu.au


Abstract

Stem cells in general and pluripotent stem cells in particular have gained tremendous interest in the recent years, primarily driven by the hope of finding cures for several debilitating human diseases through cell transplantation (regenerating medicine). Pluripotent stem cells have the inherent ability to reproduce indefinitely and have the capability to produce all the 220 differenttypes of cells constituting the human body and thus offer tremendous therapeutic potentials. The isolation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) from embryos and their successful culture in the petrii dish in 1998 [1] has been considered the biggest breakthrough of the 21st century. This has been followed by another remarkable breakthrough in 2006 when scientists demonstrated for the first time that such pluripotent stem cells could be produced from adult somatic tissues by reprogramming without having to use human embryos [2]. These pluripotent stem cells are called the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Production of iPS cells has been considered as the biggest discovery of this decade. Both hESCs and iPS cells are pluripotent and are highly versatile and offer tremendous therapeutic potential for finding cures for many incurable diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases via stem cell therapeutic in the next decade or so. Adult stem cells, particularly the haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and the neural stem cells (NSC) have been in literature for some decades and during the last few years such adult stem cells have also been derived now from almost all the adult tissues, skin, pancreas, liver, heart, kidney, including those from body fluid like amniotic fluid and even menstrual blood, umbilical chord blood. Adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies for many years. The in depth information gained from adult stem cell research during all these years has played a very critical and significant role in advancing the current field of pluripotent stem cell research that is now poised towards regenerative medicine.