Therapeutic utilization of human embryonic stem cells


Hirofumi Suemori

Laboratory of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Stem Cell Research Center

Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan


Embryonic stem (ES) cell lines are derived from the inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocysts, and they proliferate indefinitely in vitro while retaining the ability to differentiate into tissues derived from the three embryonic germ layers.  The establishment of human ES (hES) cell lines has indicated possibilities of the application of ES cells in medical research and applications such as cell therapy and drug discovery.  Advance in protocols for directed induction of differentiation of ES cells into specific cell types would realize the therapeutic potential of ES cells.  We have established three hES cell lines and distributed them to researchers who have obtained permission to use hES cells.  hES cells are also expected as a source of human functional cells used for pharmaceutical researches such as drug screening.