In 2005, Ernest McCulloch and James Till published the article “Perspectives on the Properties of Stem Cells,” which discusses the various properties and future possibilities for the use of stem cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can develop into several different cell types. In the article published in the journal Nature on 1 October 2005, the authors say they wrote the article to dispel misconceptions about what stem cells are, what they do, address some controversies surrounding stem cells, and discuss potential uses of stem cells. In the article, McCulloch and Till reveal how stem cell research has revolutionized cancer treatment as well as set the stage for future embryonic and adult stem cell research.

In 1964, authors James Till, Ernest McCulloch, and Louis Siminovitch, published A Stochastic Model of Stem Cell Proliferation, Based on The Growth of Spleen Colony-Forming Cells, which discussed possible mechanisms that control stem cell division. The authors wrote the article following their experiments with spleens of irradiated mice to demonstrate the existence of stem cells, had unknown properties. In their previous experiments, Till and McCulloch noticed that many similar-looking colonies of cells formed on the spleens of irradiated mice, but those colonies had a highly variable number of stem cells. They could not explain why some stem cells gave rise to many stem cells while others only gave rise to a few. In the article, the authors propose an explanation for how stem cells divide and renew, and provide both a greater understanding as to how cancerous tissues may arise due to unchecked stem cell division as well how stem cells can aid in cancer therapy.

James Edgar Till is a biophysicist known for establishing the existence of stem cells along with Ernest McCulloch in 1963. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can shift, or differentiate, into specialized types of cells and serve as a repair system in the body by dividing indefinitely to replenish other cells. Till’s work with stem cells in bone marrow, which produces the body’s blood cells, helped form the field of modern hematology, a medical discipline that focuses on diseases related to the blood. He also worked on issues in the medical field including patient inclusion in clinical trials, matters of effective and ineffective clinical communication, and limitations of public access to medical and scientific research. Till’s work with stem cells furthered scientists’ understanding of abnormal blood cell development, which helped set the foundation for regenerative medicine.

The discovery of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) provided a pioneering step in stem cell research. HSCs are a type of multipotent adult stem cell, characterized by their ability to self-renew and differentiate into erythrocyte (red blood cell) and leukocyte (white blood cell) cell lineages. In terms of function, these cells are responsible for the continual renewal of the erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets in the body through a process called hematopoiesis. They also play an important role in the formation of vital organs such as the liver and spleen during fetal development. The early biological knowledge obtained from the studies of HSCs established the base of knowledge for understanding other stem cell systems. In addition, these cells have a vital role in furthering stem cell research for clinical applications. Regenerative medicine is a field of medicine that has applied HSCs to the treatment of blood-borne diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma and of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.