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Table 1 Characteristics of different types of stem cells

From: Risk factors in the development of stem cell therapy

ESC iPSC SSC
Derived from inner cell mass of blastocyst Derived from somatic cells Isolated from postnatal adult tissue
Allogenic material Autologous or allogenic material Autologous or allogenic material
Pluripotent Pluripotent Multipotent
Can differentiate in cell types of all three germ lineages Can differentiate in cell types of all three germ lineages Can differentiate in limited cell types depending on the tissue of origin
Ability to form chimeras Ability to form chimeras (maybe more difficult than for ESCs) Cannot form chimeras
Self-renewal Self-renewal Limited self-renewal
Require many steps to drive differentiation into the desired cell type Require many steps to manufacture (e.g. genetic modification) and to drive differentiation into the desired cell type Difficult to maintain in cell culture for long periods
High degree of proliferation once isolated High degree of proliferation Ease of access, yield and purification varies, depending on the source tissue
Indefinite growth Indefinite growth Limited lifespan (population doublings)
Production of endless number of cells Production of endless number of cells Production of limited number of cells
Chromosome length is maintained across serial passage Chromosomes tend to shorten with ageing Chromosomes tend to shorten with ageing
Significant teratoma risk Significant teratoma risk No teratoma risk
Serious ethical issues No ethical issues No ethical issues
Immuno-priviliged. Low level of MHC I and II (also in ESC-derived cells) Not immuno-priviliged when derived from adult cells. Normal level of MHC I and II molecules. MSC have low immunogenicity and are immunomodulatory.
Not known for other somatic SC.
Cell lines will be allogenic Less chance immune rejection in case of HLA-matching In case of autologous use, less chance of immune rejection, but immunogenicity in allogenic and non-homologous applications remains unpredictable
Donor history may be unknown for 'old' cell lines (i.e. initially not intended for clinical application) Targeted disease may still be present in stem cell in case of autologous use Targeted disease may still be present in stem cell in case of autologous use