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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Stem cells in clinical practice: applications and warnings

Daniele Lodi1, Tommaso Iannitti2* and Beniamino Palmieri3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Medical School, Modena, Italy

2 Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK

3 Department of General Surgery and Surgical Specialties, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Medical School, Surgical Clinic, Modena, Italy

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Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2011, 30:9  doi:10.1186/1756-9966-30-9

Published: 17 January 2011

Abstract

Stem cells are a relevant source of information about cellular differentiation, molecular processes and tissue homeostasis, but also one of the most putative biological tools to treat degenerative diseases. This review focuses on human stem cells clinical and experimental applications. Our aim is to take a correct view of the available stem cell subtypes and their rational use in the medical area, with a specific focus on their therapeutic benefits and side effects. We have reviewed the main clinical trials dividing them basing on their clinical applications, and taking into account the ethical issue associated with the stem cell therapy.

Methods

We have searched Pubmed/Medline for clinical trials, involving the use of human stem cells, using the key words "stem cells" combined with the key words "transplantation", "pathology", "guidelines", "properties" and "risks". All the relevant clinical trials have been included. The results have been divided into different categories, basing on the way stem cells have been employed in different pathological conditions.