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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 123030, 21 pages
Review Article

Ex Vivo Expansion of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Defined Serum-Free Media

1Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility (PPRF), Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4
2Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1A4

Received 23 January 2012; Accepted 31 January 2012

Academic Editor: Selim Kuçi

Copyright © 2012 Sunghoon Jung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are presently being evaluated for their therapeutic potential in clinical studies to treat various diseases, disorders, and injuries. To date, early-phase studies have indicated that the use of both autologous and allogeneic hMSCs appear to be safe; however, efficacy has not been demonstrated in recent late-stage clinical trials. Optimized cell bioprocessing protocols may enhance the efficacy as well as safety of hMSC therapeutics. Classical media used for generating hMSCs are typically supplemented with ill-defined supplements such as fetal bovine serum (FBS) or human-sourced alternatives. Ideally, culture media are desired to have well-defined serum-free formulations that support the efficient production of hMSCs while maintaining their therapeutic and differentiation capacity. Towards this objective, we review here current cell culture media for hMSCs and discuss medium development strategies.