Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Using Various Stem Cells

  Adult Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells  

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells  


  • Trans differentiate and and reprogramming of these cells is possible but is not well studied
  • Thought to be less likely to be rejected if used in transplants
  • Success has already been demonstrated in various clinical applications 
  • Can maintain and grow for 1 year or more in culture
  • Established protocols for maintenance in culture
  • ESCs are pluripotent cells that can generate most cell types
  • By studying ESCs, more can be learned about the process of development


  • Abundant somatic cells of donor can be used
  • Issues of histocompatibility with donor/recipient transplants can be avoided
  • Very useful for drug development and developmental studies
  • Information learned from the “reprogramming” process may be transferable for in vivo therapies to reprogram damaged or diseased cells/tissues 


  • Limitations on ASC ability to differentiate are still uncertain; currently thought to be multi or unipotent.
  • Cannot be grown for long periods of time in culture
  • Usually a very small number in each tissue making them difficult to find and purify
  • Currently there is no technology available to generate large quantities of stem cells in culture

  • Process to generate ESC lines is inefficient
  • Unsure whether they would be rejected if used in transplants.
  • Therapies using ESC avenues are largely new and much more research and testing is needed
  • If used directly from the ESC undifferentiated culture prep for tissue transplants, they can cause tumors (teratomas) or cancer development  
  • Methods for ensured reproducibility and maintenance, as differentiated tissues are not certain.
  • Viruses are currently used to introduce embryonic genes and has been shown to cause cancers in mouse studies  

Ethical Concerns

  •   No major ethical concerns have been raised 
  • To acquire the inner cell mass the embryo is destroyed
  • Risk to female donors being consented

  •  iPS cells have the potential to become embryos if exposed to the right conditions