Pluripotent stem cell applications for regenerative medicine

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Abstract

Purpose of review

In this review, we summarize the current status of clinical trials using therapeutic cells produced from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). We also discuss combined cell and gene therapy via correction of defined mutations in human pluripotent stem cells and provide commentary on key obstacles facing widescale clinical adoption of pluripotent stem cell-based therapy.

Recent findings

Initial data suggest that hESC/hiPSC-derived cell products used for retinal repair and spinal cord injury are safe for human use. Early-stage studies for treatment of cardiac injury and diabetes are also in progress. However, there remain key concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of these cells that need to be addressed in additional well designed clinical trials. Advances using the clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 gene-editing system offer an improved tool for more rapid and on-target gene correction of genetic diseases. Combined gene and cell therapy using human pluripotent stem cells may provide an additional curative approach for disabling or lethal genetic and degenerative diseases wherein there are currently limited therapeutic opportunities.

Summary

Human pluripotent stem cells are emerging as a promising tool to produce cells and tissues suitable for regenerative therapy for a variety of genetic and degenerative diseases.

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