Derivation and spontaneous differentiation of human embryonic stem cells*

Authors

  • Michal Amit,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rambam Medical Center, and
    2. The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
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  • Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rambam Medical Center, and
    2. The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
      Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rambam Medical Center, POB 9602, Haifa 31096, Israel. Tel.: +972 4 854 2536; fax: +972 4 854 2503; e-mail: Itskovitz@rambam.health.gov.il
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  • *

    From a paper presented at the International Symposium on Embryonic Stem Cells – Prospects for Human Health, at the University of Sheffield, UK, 10 September 2001.

Professor Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rambam Medical Center, POB 9602, Haifa 31096, Israel. Tel.: +972 4 854 2536; fax: +972 4 854 2503; e-mail: Itskovitz@rambam.health.gov.il

Abstract

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are unique cells derived from the inner cell mass of the mammalian blastocyst. These cells are immortal and pluripotent, retain their developmental potential after prolonged culture, and can be continuously cultured in an undifferentiated state. Many in vitro differentiation systems have been developed for mouse ES cells, including reproducible methods for mouse ES cell differentiation into haematopoietic and neural precursors, cardiomyocytes, insulin-secreting cells, endothelial cells and various other cell types. The derivation of new human ES cell lines provides the opportunity to develop unique models for developmental research and for cell therapies. In this review we consider the derivation and spontaneous differentiation of human ES cells.

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