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Derivation, growth and applications of human embryonic stem cells

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Miodrag Stojkovic, Professor Majlinda LakoORCiD, Professor Tom Strachan, Professor Alison Murdoch


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Human embryonic stem (hES) cells are pluripotent cells derived from the inner cell mass cells of blastocysts with the potential to maintain an undifferentiated state indefinitely. Fully characterised hES cell lines express typical stem cell markers, possess high levels of telomerase activity, show normal karyotype and have the potential to differentiate into numerous cell types under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Therefore, hES cells are potentially valuable for the development of cell transplantation therapies for the treatment of various human diseases. However, there are a number of factors which may limit the medical application of hES cells: (a) continuous culture of hES cells in an undifferentiated state requires the presence of feeder layers and animal-based ingredients which incurs a risk of cross-transfer of pathogens; (b) hES cells demonstrate high genomic instability and non-predictable differentiation after long-term growth; and (c) differentiated hES cells express molecules which could cause immune rejection. In this review we summarise recent progress in the derivation and growth of undifferentiated hES cells and their differentiated progeny, and the problems associated with these techniques. We also examine the potential use of the therapeutic cloning technique to derive isogenic hES cells. © 2004 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stojkovic M, Lako M, Strachan T, Murdoch A

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Reproduction

Year: 2004

Volume: 128

Issue: 3

Pages: 259-267

Print publication date: 01/09/2004

ISSN (print): 1470-1626

ISSN (electronic): 1741-7899


DOI: 10.1530/rep.1.00243

PubMed id: 15333777