In this report, the authors review the human skeleton and the increasing burden of bone
deficiencies, the limitations encountered with the current treatments and the opportunities provided by the
emerging field of cell-based bone engineering. Special emphasis is placed on different sources of human
progenitor cells, as well as their pros and cons in relation to their utilization for the large-scale construction of
functional bone-engineered substitutes for clinical applications. It is concluded that, human pluripotent stem
cells represent a valuable source for the derivation of progenitor cells, which combine the advantages of both
embryonic and adult stem cells, and indeed display high potential for the construction of functional substitutes
for bone replacement therapies.
Keywords: Adult stem cells, bone deficiencies, bone engineering, embryonic-derived progenitors, human
embryonic stem cells, human skeleton, mesenchymal stem cells.
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