All surgical disciplines encounter planned and unplanned ischemic events that may ultimately lead to cellular dysfunction and death. Stem cell therapy has shown promise for the treatment of a variety of ischemic and inflammatory disorders where tissue damage has occurred. As stem cells have proven beneficial in many disease processes, important opportunities in the future treatment of gastrointestinal disorders may exist. Therefore, this article will serve to review the different types of stem cells that may be applicable to the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, review the mechanisms suggesting that stem cells may work for these conditions, discuss current practices for harvesting and purifying stem cells, and provide a concise summary of a few of the pediatric intestinal disorders that could be treated with cellular therapy. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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