Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are implicated in multiple biologic processes such as
vascular homeostasis, neovascularization and tissue regeneration, and tumor angiogenesis. A subtype
of EPCs is referred to as endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs), which display robust clonal proliferative
potential and can form durable and functional blood vessels in animal models. In this review,
we provide a brief overview of EPCs’ characteristics, classification and origins, a summary of the
progress in preclinical studies with regard to the therapeutic potential of human umbilical cord blood
derived ECFCs (CB-ECFCs) for ischemia repair, tissue engineering and tumor, and highlight the necessity
to select high proliferative CB-ECFCs and to optimize their recovery and expansion conditions.
Keywords: Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs), neovascularization, tissue engineering, tumor angiogenesis, vascular
homeostasis, peripheral blood.
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