Medicine » Stem Cell Research

Stem Cells in Clinic and Research

Edited by Ali Gholamrezanezhad, ISBN 978-953-307-797-0, 816 pages, Publisher: InTech, Chapters published August 23, 2011 under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license
DOI: 10.5772/740
Edited Volume

Based on our current understanding of cell biology and strong supporting evidence from previous experiences, different types of human stem cell populations are capable of undergoing differentiation or trans-differentiation into functionally and biologically active cells for use in therapeutic purposes. So far, progress regarding the use of both in vitro and in vivo regenerative medicine models already offers hope for the application of different types of stem cells as a powerful new therapeutic option to treat different diseases that were previously considered to be untreatable. Remarkable achievements in cell biology resulting in the isolation and characterization of various stem cells and progenitor cells has increased the expectation for the development of a new approach to the treatment of genetic and developmental human diseases. Due to the fact that currently stem cells and umbilical cord banks are so strictly defined and available, it seems that this mission is investigationally more practical than in the past. On the other hand, studies performed on stem cells, targeting their conversion into functionally mature tissue, are not necessarily seeking to result in the clinical application of the differentiated cells; In fact, still one of the important goals of these studies is to get acquainted with the natural process of development of mature cells from their immature progenitors during the embryonic period onwards, which can produce valuable results as knowledge of the developmental processes during embryogenesis. For example, the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to mature and adult cells developmental abnormalities are relatively unknown. This lack of understanding stems from the lack of a good model system to study cell development and differentiation. Hence, the knowledge reached through these studies can prove to be a breakthrough in preventing developmental disorders. Meanwhile, many researchers conduct these studies to understand the molecular and cellular basis of cancer development. The fact that cancer is one of the leading causes of death throughout the world, highlights the importance of these researches in the fields of biology and medicine.