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Keywords:

  • regenerative medicine;
  • stem cells;
  • adult stem cells;
  • embryonic stem cells;
  • induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • compensatory hyperplasia;
  • dedifferentaition;
  • chemical induction;
  • fish;
  • amphibians

Abstract

The focus of regenerative medicine is rebuilding damaged tissues by cell transplantation or implantation of bioartificial tissues. In either case, therapies focus on adult stem cells (ASCs) and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) as cell sources. Here we review four topics based on these two cell sources. The first compares the current performance of ASCs and ESCs as cell transplant therapies and the drawbacks of each. The second explores somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) as a method to derive ESCs that will not be immunorejected. The third topic explores how SCNT and ESC research has led to the ability to derive pluripotent ESCs by the dedifferentiation of adult somatic cells. Lastly, we discuss how research on activation of intrinsic adult stem cells and on somatic cell dedifferentiation can evolve regenerative medicine from a platform consisting of cell transplantation to one that includes the chemical induction of regeneration from the body's own cells at the site of injury. Developmental Dynamics 237:3648–3671, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.