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Essentials of Stem Cell Biology 3rd Edition

Essentials of Stem Cell Biology 3rd Edition PDF

Author: Robert Lanza and Anthony Atala

Publisher: Academic Press


Publish Date: November 18, 2013

ISBN-10: 0124095038

Pages: 712

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

It is with great pleasure that I pen this foreword to the third edition of the Essentials of Stem Cell Biology. The field of stem cell biology is moving extremely rapidly as the concept and potential practical applications have entered the mainstream. Despite this worldwide intensity and diversity of endeavor, there remain a smaller number of definable leaders in the field, and this volume brings most of them together.

Although the concept of stem and progenitor cells has been known for a long time, it was the progress towards embryonic stem cells which lit the field. Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells originally came from work aimed at under-standing the control and progress of embryonic differentiation, but their in vitro differentiation, despite being magnificent, was overshadowed experi-mentally by their use as a vector to the germline, and hence as a vehicle for experimental mammalian genetics. This now has led to studies of targeted mutation in up to one third of gene loci, and an ongoing international pro-gram to provide mutation in every locus of the mouse. These studies greatly illuminate our understanding of human genetics.

Jamie Thomson, reporting the advent of the equivalent human embryonic stem cells, very clearly signaled that their utility would be neither in genetic studies (impractical and unethical in man), nor in fundamental studies of embryonic development (already catered for by mouse ES cells), but, by providing a universal source of a diversity of tissue-specific precursors, as a resource for tissue repair and regenerative medicine.

Progress towards the understanding of pluripotentiality and the control of cellular differentiation, that is basic fundamental developmental biology at the cell and molecular level, now stands as a gateway to major future clini-cal applications. This volume provides a timely, up-to-date state-of-the-art reference.
The ideas behind regenerative medicine, powered by the products of embry-onic stem cells, reinvigorated study of committed stem and precursor cells within the adult body. The use of such stem cells in regenerative medicine already has a long history, for example in bone marrow transplantation and skin grafting. In both of these examples not only gross tissue transplanta-tion, but also purified or cultured stem cells may be used. They have been extensively applied in clinical treatment, and have most clearly demonstrated the problems which arise with histoincompatibility. Ideally, in most cases, a patient is better treated with his own – autologous – cells than with partially matching allogeneic cells. An ideal future would be isolation, manipulation, or generation of suitable committed stem or precursor cell populations from the patient for the patient. The amazing advances of induced pluripotential stem cells point to the possibilities of patient-specific ad hominem treatment. This personalized medicine would be an ideal scenario, but as yet the costs of the technologies may not allow it to be a commercial way forward. The timelines are, however, likely to be long before the full promise of these tech-nologies is realized, and there is every possibility that such hurdles will be circumvented. Quite properly, much of this book concentrates on the fun-damental developmental and cell biology from which the solid applications will arise.
This is a knowledge-based field in which we have come a long way, but are still relatively ignorant. We know many of the major principles of cell differ-entiation, but as yet need to understand more in detail, more about devel-opmental niches, more about the details of cell–cell and cell growth-factor interaction, and more about the epigenetic programming which maintains the stability of the differentiated state.

Sir Martin Evans, PhD, FRS
Nobel Prize for Medicine 2007
Sir Martin is credited with discovering embryonic stem cells, and is con-sidered one of the chief architects of the field of stem cell research. His ground-breaking discoveries have enabled gene targeting in mice, a technol-ogy that has revolutionized genetics and developmental biology, and have been applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new medical therapies. Among other things, his research inspired the effort of Ian Wilmut and his team to create Dolly the cloned sheep, and Jamie Thomson’s efforts to isolate embryonic stem cells from human embryos, another of the great medical milestones in the field of stem cell research. Professor Evans was knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth for his services to medical science. He studied at Cambridge University and University College London before leaving to become director of bioscience at Cardiff University.


Much has happened since the first edition of Essentials of Stem Cell Biology was published. Sir Martin Evans, who is credited with discovering embryonic stem cells, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2007; and Shinya Yamanaka, who discovered how to reprogram differentiated cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for the achievement. The third edition of Essentials includes chapters by both of these groundbreaking pioneers, as well as by dozens of other scientists whose pio-neering work has defined our understanding of stem cell biology. The volume covers the latest advances in stem cell research, with updated chapters on pluripotent, adult, and fetal stem cells. While it offers a comprehensive – and much needed – update of the rapid progress that has been achieved in the field in the last several years, we have retained those facts and subject matter which, while not new, is pertinent to the understanding of this exciting area of biology.
As in previous editions, the third edition of Essentials is presented in an acces-sible format suitable for students and general readers interested in following the latest advances in stem cells. The organization of the book remains largely unchanged, combining the prerequisites for a general understanding of pluri-potent and adult stem cells; the tools and methods needed to study and char-acterize stem cells and progenitor populations; as well as a presentation by the world’s leading scientists of what is currently known about each specific organ system. Sections include basic biology/mechanisms, tissue and organ development (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm), methods (such as detailed descriptions of how to generate both iPS and embryonic stem cells), application of stem cells to specific human diseases, regulation and ethics, and a patient perspective by Mary Tyler Moore. For the third edition, Anthony Atala joins me as a new Editor to the book. The result is a comprehensive ref-erence that we believe will be useful to students and experts alike.

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