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The hematopoietic system in the context of regenerative medicine

Porada, Christopher D., Atala, Anthony J., Almeida-Porada, Graça
Methods 2016 v.99 pp. 44-61
autoimmune diseases, blood, bone marrow, brain, chimerism, drug therapy, heart, hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cells, liver, medicine, neoplasms, umbilical cord
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) represent the prototype stem cell within the body. Since their discovery, HSC have been the focus of intensive research, and have proven invaluable clinically to restore hematopoiesis following inadvertent radiation exposure and following radio/chemotherapy to eliminate hematologic tumors. While they were originally discovered in the bone marrow, HSC can also be isolated from umbilical cord blood and can be “mobilized” peripheral blood, making them readily available in relatively large quantities. While their ability to repopulate the entire hematopoietic system would already guarantee HSC a valuable place in regenerative medicine, the finding that hematopoietic chimerism can induce immunological tolerance to solid organs and correct autoimmune diseases has dramatically broadened their clinical utility. The demonstration that these cells, through a variety of mechanisms, can also promote repair/regeneration of non-hematopoietic tissues as diverse as liver, heart, and brain has further increased their clinical value. The goal of this review is to provide the reader with a brief glimpse into the remarkable potential HSC possess, and to highlight their tremendous value as therapeutics in regenerative medicine.