Stem Cells: Classifications, Controversies, and Clinical Applications


Address reprint requests to Lisa Fortier, VMC C3-181, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail:


The application of stem cells in regenerative and reparative therapies is emerging in surgery. Published information can lead to an over simplified view of stem cells with respect to their definitions, tissues of origin, abilities to differentiate into tissue lineages, and their capacity for functional tissue regeneration. The goals of this review article are to define embryonic and adult stem cells, compare differences between them, and summarize their potential clinical applications.