What is the state of the art in stem cell therapy?

As I understand it, research using embryonic stem cell lines is a non-issue now. That should have opened the flood gates on research if true. So where are we at in developing stem cell-based therapies and for what ailments?


Stem cell transplants have become a standard therapy for myeloma.

This doesn’t use embryonic stem cells, but you didn’t say you wanted to know only about embryonic stem cell therapies.

The idea is to destroy all of the patient’s bone marrow and then to replace it using stem cells.

Therefore, stem cell therapy plays a key role for developing new cell-based drugs for the future molecular and regenerative medicine. …

There are a number of trials getting prepared for treatment of Parkinson’s. See for instance:


A spray gun that sprays stem cells onto burn victims has been tested and found to work.

Biopen to heal bone damage and cartilage damage.

One really interesting use of a stem cell gun combined with 3d printing involved taking a person who had severe wounds with massive tissue missing, then use a 3d printer to layer stem cells into the damaged tissues.

I do not know if full size organs and bodyparts have been developed (other than the bladder and trachea). Miniature organs have been created, but full sized ones out of a person’s own stem cells I do not think have occurred yet. I believe the holdup is the circulatory system is hard to develop in the organ.

I’m hoping we are only a few (ie less than 20) years away from using stem cells to replace damaged tissues and organs. But aside from the above I don’t know where we are.

I don’t know if I’d count a bone marrow transplant as “state of the art” which is what they’re actually talking about.(And has been used for cancers for awhile now.)

My understanding is one big problem with this is going to be rejection, just like a normal organ transplant. Of course if you do therapeutic cloning that would probably take care of that.

So, has anybody come up with a way to take a patient’s own tissue and grow a large enough quantity of “stem cells” from them to be of use??

Can embryonic stem cells be grown in a lab, or does each need to be individually harvested?

And why, after decades of looking at undifferentiated cells and wondering how they get differentiated, did it take a miracle for someone to think of the obvious - see if they can be tricked into becoming what we want them to be? That was my immediate thought upon hearing that they had been studied to death. To hell with how they differentiate - start the experiments!
And being diagnosed with Osteoarthritis didn’t turn me against the idea, either.

I have a friend that’s currently doing a paper on stem cells for a college class.
There are multiple sources of stem cells now - the ‘source’ is a non-issue for anyone in the know, but that remains it’s biggest hurdle.
The ‘state of the art’ stuff is all overseas now. The US is years behind.

Q remains:

Can whatever we are calling “stem cells” be cultured?


Patient’s (and how do you derive something like an undifferentiated cell from an adult?)

That the US is decades behind the rest of the G7 (and probably a dozen others) can be attributed to GOP Presidents and their refusal to allow anything even remotely tied to abortion.
Middle Ages. Sun revolves around Earth - the boss says so.

It was my understanding eastern Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore etc) were taking the lead in stem cells. However I have no idea how true that is. I would hope/assume California is still a major hub of innovation on the issue. Esp considering that under Gov Schwarzenegger they gave $150M in loans to support the science (plus San Diego, LA & the Bay area are all in California and all have good biotech industries).

I remember when stem cells were more controversial in the US, Singapore was trying to recruit top US scientists to work at their biopolis research hub by offering them more funding and less restrictions.

Is rejection an issue with pluripotent stem cells taken from the patient? That seems like it would be a non-issue.

Yes, that’s what they mean when they refer to stem cell “lines”: That’s all of the cells that are descended from cultures of the same original source.

It should also be mentioned here that abortion, as it’s commonly thought of, is not involved in embryonic stem cell production. The source for embryonic stem cells is fertilized zygotes from fertility clinics which don’t get implanted into the mother. This is after fertilization, but is before the zygote begins developing into a fetus (which is kind of the point).


Biologist here but I don’t work with stem cells so my knowledge is limited. Stem cells can be cultured. Patient (or adult) stem cells can be harvested from blood or bone marrow by separation based on cell markers by cell sorting

Adult cells can be “induced” to become pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and this seems to be the most promising technique at the moment due to the restrictions on ESCs

I guess what I was really after was whether or not iPSCs obviate the need for ESCs. Do they?