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Keywords:

  • embryonic stem cells;
  • tissue engineering

Abstract

The capacity of embryonic stem cells for virtually unlimited self-renewal and differentiation capacity has opened up the prospect of widespread applications in biomedical research and regenerative medicine. For the latter, the cells provide hope that it will be possible to overcome the problems of donor tissue shortage and also, by making the cells immunocompatible with the recipient, implant rejection. Four years after the first derivation of human pluripotent cell lines from pre-implantation embryos, a great deal has been learnt about their biology and how differentiation can be encouraged towards particular cell lineages. However, considerable research is needed, not least into means to enrich and purify derivative cell lineages, before clinical trials can be considered. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.