Stem Cells: Scientific Facts and Fiction

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In the past decades our understanding of stem cell biology has increased tremendously. Many types of stem cells have been discovered in tissues of which everyone presumed were unable to regenerate in adults; these include particularly the heart and the brain. There is vast interest in stem cells from biologists and clinicians who see the potential for regenerative medicine and future treatments for chronic diseases like Parkinson, diabetes and spinal cord lesions based on the use of stem cells and entrepreneurs in biotechnology who expect new commercial applications ranging from drug discovery to transplantation therapies.

As is often the case in science, many early claims turned out to be different from those expected. Embryonic stem cell therapies have not moved rapidly into clinical practice. Adult stem cells certainly have given certain degrees of success but not nearly to the extent that advocates would have wished for. Some claims of early successes in adult stem cell therapies have not been sustained in double-blinded, randomized clinical trials. Some claims are now close to routine therapy. Some of the claims not supported by evidence have nevertheless reached private clinical practice so that "stem cell tourism" is beginning to reach exaggerated proportions.

This book provides the reader background information on stem cells in a clear and well-organized manner. It provides the non-stem cell expert with an understandable review of the history, current state of affairs, and facts and fiction of the promises of stem cells. It distinguishes itself from the multiplicity of websites on the subject of stem cells by being scientifically, politically and ethically neutral, explaining pros and cons for stem cells of every sort with the intention of reaching a wide readership ranging from advanced students and patient advocacy groups to clinicians, specialists and early phase medics in training. By providing the background scientific and social information, it provides readers with the information they require to form their own opinions on the use of stem cells on the basis of facts rather than hype.

* Explains in straightforward, non-specialist language the basic biology of stem cells and their applications in modern medicine and future therapy

* Includes extensive coverage of adult and embryonic stem cells both historically and in contemporary practice

* Richly illustrated to assist in understanding how research is done and the current hurdles to clinical practice

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Explains in straightforward, non-specialist language the basic biology of stem cells and their applications in modern medicine and future therapy…Includes extensive coverage of adult and embryonic stem cells..."—Anticancer Research, February 2015

"... a valuable resource for both biologists and nonbiologists interested in the history and the state-of-the-art developments in the field of stem cell research and its applications. The writing style is quite engaging, and numerous illustrations help to explain the concepts. 3 Stars - Score: 85"—Doody', Nov 14 2014

Stem Cells, 1st Edition - Winner of two British Medical Association 2011 awards: BMA Board of Science Award for the Public Understanding of Science and First Prize in the category of Basic and Clinical Sciences

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Joanna Goral, PhD (Midwestern University)
Description: This is a comprehensive and accessible overview of the history and recent developments in academic and clinical stem cell research. With the many advances and new developments in this dynamic field, this update of the 2010 edition is fully justified.
Purpose: The book extensively reviews the scientific facts about stem cells and their remarkable promise in developing new treatments for cancer and chronic diseases of old age, in drug discovery, and their application in biotechnology and tissue engineering. The authors also address ethical issues that surround the use of embryonic stem cells and warn about fraudulent stem cell practices that continue to increase.
Audience: The intended audience is diverse, including students and scientists, as well as nonbiologists, who are interested in this field.
Features: Among the many publications in the field of stem cell biology, this book is truly important because of its accessibility to a general audience. The opening chapters introduce the basic biology of the cell, describe embryonic development, and define and characterize different types of stem cells. Subsequent chapters are devoted to applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine, the significance of stem cells in cancer development and treatment, new developments in human disease models, personalized medicine, and drug discovery. Applications of stem cells in veterinary medicine are also discussed. The field of stem cell research offers great promise, but is mired in controversy and the authors present all sides of the debate. They also devote an entire chapter to "stem cell tourism," a practice among patients who pay large sums of money for often unproven stem cell therapies.
Assessment: This is a valuable resource for both biologists and nonbiologists interested in the history and the state-of-the-art developments in the field of stem cell research and its applications. The writing style is quite engaging, and numerous illustrations help to explain the concepts. Many historical, informative, and anecdotal vignettes enliven the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780123815354
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 1/14/2011
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 1,548,099
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Biology of the Cell Chapter 2: Embryonic development Chapter 3: Of mice and men: History of stem cells Chapter 4: What are stem cells? Chapter 5: Origin of stem cells Chapter 6: Types of stem cells Chapter 7: Cloning: history and current applications Chapter 8: Clinical applications of stem cells Chapter 9: Cancer stem cells Chapter 10: Applications for drugs and toxicity screening Chapter 11: Venturing in stem cells (law and intellectual property) Chapter 12: Future Prospects

References and websites

Glossary of terms


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