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Stem cells and their clinical/therapeutic applications in biomedical and veterinary science – the perspectives

Amarpal1, Kuldeep Dhama2*, Sandip Chakraborty3, Ruchi Tiwari4 and Senthilkumar Natesan5

1Division of Surgery, 2Division of Pathology, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly (U.P.) – 243122; 3Animal Resources Development Department, Pt. Nehru Complex, Agartala, Tripura – 799006; 4Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Sciences, Uttar Pradesh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwa Vidhyalaya Evam Go-Anusandhan Sansthan (DUVASU), Mathura (U.P.) – 281001; 5Western Range Biopharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd., Cluster Innovation Center, Genome Research Center, M.S. University, Vadodara 390001, Gujarat, India


In recent years, stem cell research has got much importance due to its therapeutic potential in many incurable degenerative and chronic diseases. Stem cells are defined as unspecialized cells having the capacity of self-renewal by cell division, to proliferate extensively, and to differentiate into one or more cell/tissue types. Broadly stem cells can be categorized as embryonic stem cells and adult or tissue-specific stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells. Therapeutic applications using adult stem cells (ASC) are  promising for treating joint and bone diseases; cancer; haematological and bone marrow disorders; cardiac defects, non-healing wounds, spinal cord injuries, brain stroke and several other degenerative disorders. The application of embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) is still in infancy. However, ESCs are used in generating transgenic animals, which contribute to the improvement of animal production traits. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) show great promise as a biological therapeutic for a diverse range of unmet medical needs, but regulation of the stem cell based therapies is the need of the hour, mainly in the developing countries and other unregulated markets to avoid misuse of the novel therapeutic approaches. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has  put regulation in place for the clinical use of cellular therapy, and a few such FDA approved therapies are already available for limited clinical applications. Use of stem cells in combating stress; licensing of drugs and tissue engineering has gained attention as well. There must be a compliance with the privacy regulations in relation to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to facilitate the transfer of cells and tissues. Apart from the regulatory concerns, the question of safety of stem cell therapy has to be answered. Thus protocols for thorough screening and testing of stem cells should be developed to preclude chances of contamination with biological and non-biological agents. The present paper describes the basics of stem cells, their characteristics, types, propagation, pluripotency and molecular control along with beneficial applications in biomedical, veterinary and pharmaceutical research. Potent clinical and therapeutic aspects discussed include the role of stem cells in regenerative medicine and treatment of several incurable ailments viz., spinal cord and brain injury, neurological and cardiac diseases, bone and cartilage repair, repair and regeneration of liver tissues, wound healing and sepsis treatment, combating deadly malady of cancer and leukemia. Apart from these, role of stem cells in generating transgenic animals, organ transplantation and gene therapy is also discussed in brief. Safety measures for stem cell based therapies have also been highlighted.

Keywords: Stem cell therapy, biomedicine, veterinary, clinical application, regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cell, adult stem cell, mesenchymal stem cell, induced pluripotent stem cells, transgenic animal, organ transplantation
To cite this article: Amarpal, K Dhama, S Chakraborty, R Tiwari and Senthilkumar Natesan, 2013. Stem cells and their clinical / therapeutic applications in biomedical and veterinary science – The perspectives. Res. Opin. Anim. Vet. Sci., 3(9), 261-279.

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