Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1049, May 2005, Stem Cell Biology: Development and Plasticity
May 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
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This volume offers contributions from numerous interdisciplinary areas bridging biotechnology and biomedical sciences. The ability to isolate and maintain pluripotent stem cells in culture offers exciting possibilities for replacing damaged or diseased organs and tissues. Moreover, stem cells will provide opportunities for major advances in our understanding of fundamental developmental processes.
The study of pluripotent stem cells derived from early embryos or fetal tissues has shown that they are capable of replicating indefinitely in vitro and possess the ability to differentiate into many cell types. Biotechnological advances under which growth conditions and factors can be identified and characterized are needed to guide such cells to form organ-specific tissues.
Biomedical researchers are also investigating approaches to isolate and manipulate adult-derived multipotential stem cells that appear to possess considerably broader differentiation capacity than originally imagined.
Novel therapeutic strategies are being developed to take advantage of the ability of stem cells to proliferate in culture and to survive after transplantation into various tissues, where they may integrate and stably express foreign genes, or repopulate damaged or diseased organs such as the heart, brain, or pancreas.
These presentations foster a broader understanding of the factors that regulate the biology and plasticity of stem cells through the picture they provide of the "state of the science" of stem cell biology and by framing the many questions that remain to be answered.
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