Cellular therapies derived from embryonic stem (ES) cells have acquired new interest and urgency with the demonstration that embryonic stem cells can be established from human blastocyst-stage embryos. Our ability to derive therapeutic cells from differentiating ES cell cultures will ultimately depend on our understanding of the embryonic developmental processes that direct the differentiation of pluripotent cells into transplantable lineage-specific stem cells, and on our ability to recapitulate these processes in vitro. In this review, we evaluate the work that has been done to date on the hematopoietic differentiation of ES cells, and discuss this in the context of what is known about the embryonic origin of the hematopoietic stem cell.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Rita C.R. Perlingeiro and M. William Lensch for helpful comments on the manuscript. GQD is the Birnbaum Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. Research support was received from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health (grants CA76418, CA86991, DK59279, and HL71265), and the National Science Foundation–MIT Biotechnology Process Engineering Center.