Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myocytes, adipocytes, beta-pancreatic islets cells, and potentially, neuronal cells. MSCs are of intense therapeutic interest because they represent a population of cells with the potential to treat a wide range of acute and degenerative diseases.
MSCs are advantageous over other stem cells types for a variety of reasons: they avoid the ethical issues that surround embryonic stem cell research, and repeated studies have found MSCs to be immuno-privileged, which make them an advantageous cell type for allogenic transplantation. MSCs reduce both the risks of rejection and complications of transplantation. Recently, there have been advances in the use of autologous mesenchymal stem cells to regenerate human tissues, including cartilage, meniscus, tendons, bone fractures, and more.
This global strategic report explores recent advances in MSC research applications, research priorities by market segment, and the competitive environment for MSC research products. It also identifies trend and growth patterns within the MSC industry. Because it is important for pharmaceutical companies interested to understand underlying forces affecting the MSC market, this report also presents a range of topics that apply to these companies, including how advances in MSC research can reveal potential new drug targets, improve methods of drug delivery, and provide personalized treatment strategies.
Literature and data concerning the biology and differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has expanded rapidly over the past 10 years, with more than 13,000 publications now exploring aspects of MSC biology, behavior, and applications. In particular, MSCs appear to be an exceptionally promising tool for cell therapy because of their unusual characteristics, which partially mimic those of embryonic stem cells, while having advantages in terms of availability, expandability, transplantability, and ethical implications.
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Interest in therapeutic applications of human MSCs arises from their diverse ability to differentiate into a range of cell types, as well as from their ability to migrate to sites of tissue injury/inflammation or tumor growth. These localization properties present a promising strategy for targeted introduction of therapeutic agents through MSC gene therapy. In addition, MSCs possess strong immunosuppressive properties that medical researchers are exploiting for both autologous as well as heterologous therapies.
Clinical Progress with MSCs
As mentioned, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have inspired a lot of activity over the past ten years as a novel therapeutic model for a wide range of diseases. Presently, MSCs-based clinical trials are being conducted for twelve types of disease conditions, with many completed trials showing their safety and efficacy.
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