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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Clinical trials for stem cell therapies

Alan Trounson*, Rahul G Thakar, Geoff Lomax and Don Gibbons

Author Affiliations

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 210 King Street, San Francisco, CA 9107, USA

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BMC Medicine 2011, 9:52  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-52

Published: 10 May 2011

Abstract

In recent years, clinical trials with stem cells have taken the emerging field in many new directions. While numerous teams continue to refine and expand the role of bone marrow and cord blood stem cells for their vanguard uses in blood and immune disorders, many others are looking to expand the uses of the various types of stem cells found in bone marrow and cord blood, in particular mesenchymal stem cells, to uses beyond those that could be corrected by replacing cells in their own lineage. Early results from these trials have produced mixed results often showing minor or transitory improvements that may be attributed to extracellular factors. More research teams are accelerating the use of other types of adult stem cells, in particular neural stem cells for diseases where beneficial outcome could result from either in-lineage cell replacement or extracellular factors. At the same time, the first three trials using cells derived from pluripotent cells have begun.