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Stem Cells International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 241048, 8 pages
Review Article

A Review of Stem Cell Translation and Potential Confounds by Cancer Stem Cells

1Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
2Department of Medicine-Hematology/Oncology Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
3Department of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, 05026-000 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
4New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, 185 South Orange Avenue, MSB, Room E-579, Newark, NJ 07103, USA

Received 24 April 2013; Accepted 5 November 2013

Academic Editor: Kenneth Boheler

Copyright © 2013 Bernadette Bibber 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.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells found in both fetal and adult tissues. MSCs show promise for cellular therapy for several disorders such as those associated with inflammation. In adults, MSCs primarily reside in the bone marrow (BM) and adipose tissues. In BM, MSCs are found at low frequency around blood vessels and trabecula. MSCs are attractive candidates for regenerative medicine given their ease in harvesting and expansion and their unique ability to bypass the immune system in an allogeneic host. Additionally, MSCs exert pathotropism by their ability to migrate to diseased regions. Despite the “attractive” properties of MSCs, their translation to patients requires indepth research. “Off-the-shelf” MSCs are proposed for use in an allogeneic host. Thus, the transplanted MSCs, when placed in a foreign host, could receive cue from the microenvironment for cellular transformation. An important problem with the use of MSCs involves their ability to facilitate the support of breast and other cancers as carcinoma-associated fibroblasts. MSCs could show distinct effect on each subset of cancer cells. This could lead to untoward effect during MSC therapy since the MSCs would be able to interact with undiagnosed cancer cells, which might be in a dormant state. Based on these arguments, further preclinical research is needed to ensure patient safety with MSC therapy. Here, we discuss the basic biology of MSCs, discuss current applications, and provide evidence why it is important to understand MSC biology in the context of diseased microenvironment for safe application.