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Human stem cell research represents an exceptional opportunity for regenerative medicine and the surgical reconstruction of the craniomaxillofacial complex. The correct architecture and function of the vastly diverse tissues of this important anatomical region are critical for life supportive processes, the delivery of senses, social interaction, and aesthetics. Craniomaxillofacial tissue loss is commonly associated with inflammatory responses of the surrounding tissue, significant scarring, disfigurement, and psychological sequelae as an inevitable consequence. The in vitro production of fully functional cells for skin, muscle, cartilage, bone, and neurovascular tissue formation from human stem cells, may one day provide novel materials for the reconstructive surgeon operating on patients with both hard and soft tissue deficit due to cancer, congenital disease, or trauma. However, the clinical translation of human stem cell technology, including the application of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in novel regenerative therapies, faces several hurdles that must be solved to permit safe and effective use in patients. The basic biology of hPSCs remains to be fully elucidated and concerns of tumorigenicity need to be addressed, prior to the development of cell transplantation treatments. Furthermore, functional comparison of in vitro generated tissue to their in vivo counterparts will be necessary for confirmation of maturity and suitability for application in reconstructive surgery. Here, we provide an overview of human stem cells in disease modeling, drug screening, and therapeutics, while also discussing the application of regenerative medicine for craniomaxillofacial tissue deficit and surgical reconstruction.

Original publication

DOI

10.1089/scd.2013.0576

Type

Journal article

Journal

Stem cells dev

Publication Date

01/07/2014

Volume

23

Pages

1437 - 1451

Keywords

Animals, Bone Regeneration, Cell Differentiation, Craniocerebral Trauma, Epigenesis, Genetic, Humans, Maxillofacial Abnormalities, Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Pluripotent Stem Cells, Reconstructive Surgical Procedures, Regenerative Medicine