Adult Stem Cells
DAVID A. PRENTICE, PH.D.
Professor of Life Sciences at Indiana State University,
Terre Haute, Indiana
Within just a few years, the possibility that the human body
contains cells that can repair and regenerate damaged and diseased
tissue has gone from an unlikely proposition to a virtual certainty.
Adult stem cells have been isolated from numerous adult tissues,
umbilical cord, and other non-embryonic sources, and have
demonstrated a surprising ability for transformation into other tissue
and cell types and for repair of damaged tissues. This paper will
examine the published literature regarding the identity of adult stem
cells and possible mechanisms for their observed differentiation into
tissue types other than their tissue of origin. Reported data from
both human and animal studies will be presented on the various
tissue sources of adult stem cells and the differentiation and repair
abilities for each source, especially with regards to current and
potential therapeutic treatments.
Adult stem cells have received intense scrutiny over the past
few years due to surprising discoveries regarding heretofore
unknown abilities to form multiple cell and tissue types, as well as
the discovery of such cells in an increasing number of tissues. The
term “adult stem cell” is somewhat of a misnomer, because the cells
are present even in infants and similar cells exist in umbilical cord
and placenta. More accurate terms have been proposed, such as
tissue stem cells, somatic stem cells, or post-natal stem cells.
However, because of common usage this review will continue to
use the term adult stem cell.
This paper will review the literature related to adult stem
cells, including current and potential clinical applications (with
apologies to the many who are not cited, due to the exponential
increase in papers regarding adult stem cells and the limitations of
this review.) The focus will be on human adult stem cells, but will
MONITORING STEM CELL RESEARCH
also include results from anima