Embryonic stem cells as a cell source for tissue engineering
Tissue engineering could generate off-the-shelf organs for transplantation to treat a variety of debilitating ailments such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease. One of the major barriers to the realization of this enormous potential is the lack of renewable sources of cells for transplantation. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells have the potential to provide such a source of cells because of their ability to differentiate into all somatic cells and their seemingly unlimited proliferative capability. In this chapter, we address the potential and the challenges associated with the use of ESCs in tissue engineering. In particular, we address methods to proliferate and direct ESC differentiation, to isolate and transplant ESCs, and to incorporate them into existing tissue-engineering approaches. We also address issues associated with the host’s immune reaction, ESC-derived tumor formation, and scale-up processes.