A new review looks at the potential of fetal membranes, which make up the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus during pregnancy, for regenerative medicine.
Fetal membranes have been used as biological bandages for skin grafts as well as for serious burns. They may also have numerous other applications because they contain a variety of stem cells, which might be used to treat cardiovascular and neurological diseases, diabetes, and other medical conditions.
"The fetal membranes have been used successfully in medical applications for over a century, but we continue to discover new properties of these membranes," said Dr. Rebecca Lim, author of the STEM CELLS Translational Medicine review. "The stem cell populations arising from the fetal membranes are plentiful and diverse, while the membrane itself serves as a unique biocompatible scaffold for bioengineering applications."