The placenta is a temporary organ that is discarded after birth and is one of the most promising sources of various cells and tissues for use in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, both in experimental and clinical settings. The placenta has unique, intrinsic features because it plays many roles during gestation: it is formed by cells from two individuals (mother and fetus), contributes to the development and growth of an allogeneic fetus, and has two independent and interacting circulatory systems. Different stem and progenitor cell types can be isolated from the different perinatal tissues making them particularly interesting candidates for use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The primary source of perinatal stem cells is cord blood. Cord blood has been a well-known source of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells since 1974. Biobanked cord blood has been used to treat different hematological and immunological disorders for over 30 years. Other perinatal tissues that are routinely discarded as medical waste contain non-hematopoietic cells with potential therapeutic value. Indeed, in advanced perinatal cell therapy trials, mesenchymal stromal cells are the most commonly used. Here, we review one by one the different perinatal tissues and the different perinatal stem cells isolated with their phenotypical characteristics and the preclinical uses of these cells in numerous pathologies. An overview of clinical applications of perinatal derived cells is also described with special emphasis on the clinical trials being carried out to treat COVID19 pneumonia. Furthermore, we describe the use of new technologies in the field of perinatal stem cells and the future directions and challenges of this fascinating and rapidly progressing field of perinatal cells and regenerative medicine.
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