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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-14

Recent advances in stem cell biology: Implications for tropical haematology practice

Department of Haematology and Immunology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Anthony A Oyekunle
Senior Lecturer and Consultant Haematologist, Department of Haematology and Immunology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Stem cells have long been defined by their remarkable potential to repopulate tissue systems indefinitely. This ability depends on their capacity for self-renewal, extensive proliferation and differentiation into the mature progeny. These ensure that they maintain the many different cell types in the body during embryogenesis and normal growth. Stem cells are conventionally of two types: embryonic stem cells and somatic or adult stem cells. Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has found extensive use in the management of both malignant and non-malignant haematologic diseases ranging from leukemias, lymphomas, and myelomas to sickle cell anaemia and thalassemias. Replacement gene therapy is also becoming increasingly relevant, though ensuring efficient viral transduction of the hematopoietic stem cells remains a challenge. These and similar advances in blood transfusion and supportive care, have significantly improved the outlook for these diseases. However, in the tropics, these gains are either non-existent or largely restricted to patients in the immediate vicinity of specialized healthcare facilities which are far too few.

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