Biomaterials approach to expand and direct differentiation of stem cells.


Journal Article (Review)

Stem cells play increasingly prominent roles in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells theoretically allow every cell type in the body to be regenerated. Adult stem cells have also been identified and isolated from every major tissue and organ, some possessing apparent pluripotency comparable to that of ES cells. However, a major limitation in the translation of stem cell technologies to clinical applications is the supply of cells. Advances in biomaterials engineering and scaffold fabrication enable the development of ex vivo cell expansion systems to address this limitation. Progress in biomaterial design has also allowed directed differentiation of stem cells into specific lineages. In addition to delivering biochemical cues, various technologies have been developed to introduce micro- and nano-scale features onto culture surfaces to enable the study of stem cell responses to topographical cues. Knowledge gained from these studies portends the alteration of stem cell fate in the absence of biological factors, which would be valuable in the engineering of complex organs comprising multiple cell types. Biomaterials may also play an immunoprotective role by minimizing host immunoreactivity toward transplanted cells or engineered grafts.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Chai, C; Leong, KW

Published Date

  • March 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 467 - 480

PubMed ID

  • 17264853

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17264853

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1525-0024

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1525-0016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/


  • eng