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Book and Media Reviews
June 4, 2008

Culture of Human Stem Cells

JAMA. 2008;299(21):2572. doi:10.1001/jama.299.21.2572

Stem cell therapy holds enormous promise—but only to the extent that basic scientists can pave the path toward isolation, expansion, and re-engineering of stem cells. This handy book can help basic scientists proceed in that direction by providing techniques and protocols in experimenting with stem cells of different origins. This book, part of Wiley's Culture of Specialized Cells series, is devoted to stem cells from different organs. The design of the book is cross-sectional, each chapter covering a different type of stem cell. Thus, there are separate chapters on embryonic stem cells as well as on stem cells derived from cardiac, neural, germ cell, carcinoma, umbilical cord, dental pulp, bone marrow stroma, connective, corneal, mammary, and adipose tissue. Each chapter is then replete with techniques for isolating, purifying, characterizing, and expanding that particular population of stem cells. Protocols are designed with goals in mind. Thus, specific protocols are provided for expanding cells for subsequent in vitro, ex vivo, or in vivo studies of tissue regeneration, as well as those for experiments to dedifferentiate stem cells into earlier types. Many chapters provide protocols for reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to evaluate gene expression of each of the subsets of cells, as well as actual primer sequences used for PCR testing. Although the book is clear, it does presuppose technical expertise and knowledge on the part of the investigator, because cell chamber counting, trypsinization, and other basic procedures are not explained in detail but rather presumed to be mastered.

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