The classical definition of a stem cell requires that it possess two properties:
- Self-renewal: The ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state.
- Potency: The capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. In the strictest sense, this requires stem cells to be either totipotent or pluripotent—to be able to give rise to any mature cell type, although multipotent or unipotent progenitor cells are sometimes referred to as stem cells.
Theses properties make stem cells highly suitable for future treatments of:
- Regenerative Medicine
- Gene Therapy
- Autoimmune diseases