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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012, Article ID 741810, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/741810
Review Article

Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells: Future Perspectives

1Institute of Medical Genetics, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Strasse 10, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger G├╝rtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Received 2 March 2012; Accepted 12 April 2012

Academic Editor: Mahmud Bani

Copyright © 2012 Margit Rosner 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.

Abstract

The existence of stem cells in human amniotic fluid was reported for the first time almost ten years ago. Since this discovery, the knowledge about these cells has increased dramatically. Today, amniotic fluid stem (AFS) cells are widely accepted as a new powerful tool for basic research as well as for the establishment of new stem-cell-based therapy concepts. It is possible to generate monoclonal genomically stable AFS cell lines harboring high proliferative potential without raising ethical issues. Many different groups have demonstrated that AFS cells can be differentiated into all three germ layer lineages, what is of relevance for both, the scientific and therapeutical usage of these cells. Of special importance for the latter is the fact that AFS cells are less tumorigenic than other pluripotent stem cell types. In this paper, we have summarized the current knowledge about this relatively young scientific field. Furthermore, we discuss the relevant future perspectives of this promising area of stem cell research focusing on the next important questions, which need to be answered.