Terminology

Adult (tissue specific) stem cell
An unspecialised stem cell found in a tissue or organ that can renew itself, and differentiate to develop into mainly the cell types of the tissue from which it originated.
Allogeneic transplantation
Cell, tissue or organ transplants from one individual to a genetically different person (ie from a donor).
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Is a common eye condition among people age 50 and older and is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly.
ARC
The Australian Research Council is a statutory agency under the Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education portfolio within the Australian Government. Its mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community.
Autologous transplantation
Cell, tissue or organ transplants from one individual back into the same individual (ie involves your own cells). Such transplants are often performed with blood products or bone marrow, do not induce an immune response and are not rejected.
Blastocyst
An early stage embryo about seven days following fertilisation and containing about 150 cells. A blastocyst consists of two types of cells: the inner cell mass cells, which gives rise to all the organs and tissues of a future embryo and foetus; and the trophoblast which forms a portion of the placenta. Embryonic stem cells are derived from the inner cell mass of donated IVF embryos.
Cell culture
The growth of cells in a laboratory where nutrients, growth factors and all other requirements for cell survival are provided.
Cell division
The process by which one cell divides into two cells, thereby increasing the cell population.
Cell based therapies
A treatment that administers cells required to repair or rebuild depleted cell populations or tissues. These may include cells derived from stem cells.
Differentiation
The process whereby an unspecialised (undifferentiated) stem cell develops into specialised cells such as those in the liver, brain or heart.
Efficacy
Efficacy is the capacity to produce an effect.
Embryo
An embryo is a stage of development immediately following fertilisation of an egg by a sperm. Stages of embryonic development can be divided into pre-implantation (early development before pregnancy is established) and post-implantation.
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
Are stem cells derived from human embryos (at the blastocyst stage). ESCs are self-renewing (can replicate themselves) and have the potential to differentiate into all cell types in the body.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices and veterinary products.
Foetal stem cells
These are stem cells derived from donated foetal tissue and share many of the characteristics of the adult stem cells.
HTLV-1 - Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type I
HTLV-1 is a transmissible human RNA retrovirus that causes T-cell leukaemia and T-cell lymphoma in adults and may also be involved in certain demyelinating diseases, including tropical spastic paraparesis.
Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC)
The parent stem cell or ‘precursor’ of mature blood cells which are found in adult bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, peripheral blood and foetal liver.
HREC
Human Research Ethics Committees assist Australian institutions in meeting their obligation for the effective governance of research involving humans and is the Australian equivalent of an Institutional Review Board in the USA.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)
Stem cells which resemble pluripotent embryonic stem cells. They are derived from mature, fully differentiated cells of the body that have been reprogrammed through genetic manipulation and other techniques to restore developmental potential.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
IVF is an assisted reproduction technique where fertilisation is achieved outside the body. Sperm and eggs are brought together in the laboratory (i.e. in vitro) to achieve fertilisation before being transferred to the uterus (or womb) to attempt to achieve a pregnancy.
International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)
The ISSCR is an independent, nonprofit organisation formed in 2002 to foster the exchange of information on stem cell research. With more than 3,500 members worldwide, the ISSCR has become the voice of the stem cell research community.
Mesenchymal stem or stromal cells (MSCs)
A type of adult stem cell found in several tissues of the body including bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta and adipose tissue which can give rise to a number of tissue types such as bone, cartilage, fat tissue, and connective tissue, as well as display immunosuppressive properties.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
Also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in many parts of the world, and as Lou Gehrig's disease in the USA, is a progressive neurological disease.
Multipotent
The potential of an individual stem cell to develop into a restricted number of (but not all) types of cells. Many adult stem cells are multipotent.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a disease which affects the central nervous system and can, to varying degrees, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Since identification, MS has been the subject of intense, world-wide research but still its cause and cure remain elusive.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
The NHMRC is Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and governments; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research.
National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia (NSCFA)
The NSCFA is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and an Australian Tax Office endorsed charity, established in 2011 as the follow-on organisation from the Australian Stem Cell Centre.
Peer review
Peer review is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field.
Pluripotent
The ability of a stem cell to develop into all types of cells in the body. ESCs and iPS cells are examples of pluripotent stem cells.
Progenitor cells
A progenitor cell is a transitional form of stem cell that can differentiate, but can no longer renew itself. Progenitor cells are restricted to the generation of a few types of specialised cells.
Regenerative medicine
A treatment in which stem cells are induced to differentiate into a specific cell type required to repair damaged tissues or to replenish a depleted cell population. They are then used to treat disease.
Stem cell
An unspecialised or undifferentiated cell with the ability to self-renew, and to differentiate to produce specialised cell types in the body.
Stem cell line
Stem cells that have been established and propagated in culture and which maintained consistent characteristics and developmental potential.
Stem Cells Australia
ARC funded special research initiative in stem cell science which commenced in 2011.
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
The TGA is Australia's regulatory authority for therapeutic goods. They carry out a range of assessment and monitoring activities to ensure therapeutic goods available in Australia are of an acceptable standard with the aim of ensuring that the Australian community has access, within a reasonable time, to therapeutic advances. The TGA is the equivalent of the USA FDA.