The terms MSC and MSCs have become the preferred acronym to describe a cell and a cell population of multipotential stem/ progenitor cells commonly referred to as mesenchymal stem cells, multipotential stromal cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, and mesenchymal progenitor cells.
The MSCs can differentiate to important lineages under defined conditions in vitro and in limited situations after implantation in vivo. MSCs were isolated and described about 30 years ago and now there are over 55,000 publications on MSCs readily available.
The MSCs have broad antiinflammatory and immune-modulatory properties. At present, these provide the greatest focus of human MSCs in clinical testing; however, the properties of cultured MSCs in vitro suggest they can have broader applications.
The medical utility of MSCs continues to be investigated in over 950 clinical trials.
There has been much progress in understanding MSCs over the years and there is a strong foundation for future scientific research and clinical applications, but also some important questions remain to be answered. Developing further methods to understand and unlock MSC potential through intracellular and intercellular signaling, biomedical engineering, delivery methods and patient selection should all provide substantial advancements in the coming years and greater clinical opportunities.
The expansive and growing field of MSC research is teaching us basic human cell biology as well as how to use this type of cell for cellular therapy in a variety of clinical settings, and while much promise is evident, careful new work is still needed.