039) Conclusions:  N-cad expression is decreased in HCC, and the

039). Conclusions:  N-cad expression is decreased in HCC, and the downregulation of N-cad is associated with the metastatic potential of HCC and poorer surgical prognosis. “
“With an estimated 467,000 new cases per year worldwide, cirrhosis remains the fourth most common cause of death in the United States. Except for complete liver transplants, which are only available to a few, to date, there is no medical treatment Dabrafenib available. Clearly, abrogation of end-stage liver disease is of great clinical significance. In this issue of HEPATOLOGY,

two investigations reveal significant and seminal strides to solving the problem of liver replacement therapies. hESC, human embryonic stem cell; iPS cell, induced pluripotent stem selleck inhibitor cell. Hopes for curing diseases with poor prognosis such as cirrhosis, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and various spinal

cord afflictions were raised in 1998 with the discovery of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).1 In the 12 years since, an explosion of research has elevated hESCs, and stem cell biology as a whole, to a completely independent and elite field of research. Discovery after discovery of new genes, biochemical and molecular pathways, and ingenious ideas and theories about how cells make their decisions to remain pluripotent or differentiate have all been at the forefront of this relatively young field. The guiding principle behind investigating hESCs is the fact that they can differentiate into all three germ layers: ectoderm, mesoderm, and definitive endoderm. As a result, the ultimate goal driving hESC biology, and much of stem cell biology, has been their eventual

use in the clinic as stem cell therapies.2–5 In many respects, ESCs have indeed lived up to their billing by reversing signs of paralysis, virtually curing diabetes, and significantly reversing infarcted heart muscle…of course, that is if you are a rodent.6–8 Unfortunately for humans, the past 12 years has brought about more questions concerning ESC efficacy, safety, and bioethics than cures. In fact, after more than a decade of research, only one trial has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for assessing hESCs in patients. However, selleck products this study, slated to have begun in August of 2009 by the Geron Corporation, was designed to only test the safety of these cells and is now on an indefinite hold by request of the FDA. To date, the questions surrounding hESCs have not been answered enough to say that hESCs will be used clinically in the near future. Arguably, a major hurdle for hESC research has been concerns surrounding bioethics. Because hESCs must be obtained by destroying human embryos, many political and religious entities around the world have, either rightly or wrongly, hindered hESC research.

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