Research involving differentiated embryonic stem (ES) cells may revolutionize the study of liver disease, improve the drug discovery process, and assist in the development of stem-cell-based clinical therapies. Generation of ES cell-derived hepatic tissue has benefited from an understanding of the cytokines, growth factors and biochemical compounds that are essential in liver development, and this knowledge has been used to mimic some aspects of embryonic development in vitro. Although great progress has been made in differentiating human ES cells into liver cells, current protocols have not yet produced cells with the phenotype of a mature hepatocyte. There is a of disease models have been examined concerning whether stem cells can correct liver disease. It is a bit premature to conclude that hepatocytes can be generated from non-hepatic cells in culture that will be clinically useful. Standard criteria will need to be developed to assess the extent to which human stem cell-derived hepatocytes have been produced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology