Table 1: Comparison between Stem Cell and Progenitor Cell.

Comparison in Stem Cell Progenitor Cell
Description Stem Cells are reserve cells that have the ability to change into many different types of cells and grow indefinitely. They have the potential to create many new different cells that can help replace dying and/or damaged cells. Stem cells also have the potential to create new tissue and even whole organs from just a few stem cells. Progenitor cell are very similar to stem cells. They are biological cells and like stem cells, they too have the ability to differentiate into a specific type of cell. However, they are already more specific than stem cells and can only be pushed to differentiate into its "target" cell.

Four main types of stem cells:

    1) Adult or somatic stem cells

    2) Fetal stem cells

    3) Embryonic stem cells

    4) Induced stem cells

Many, as each "target" cell has its own progenitor cell. Some of the types include:

    1) Satellite cells found in muscles.

    2) Intermediate progenitor cells formed in the subventricular zone.

    3) Bone marrow stromal cells

    4) Periosteum contains progenitor cells that develop into osteoblasts and chondroblasts.

    5) Pancreatic progenitor cells

    6) Angioblasts or endothelial progenitor cells (EPC)

    7) Blast cells


1) Multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.

2) Generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate.

3) Potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells.

1) Tendency to differentiate into a specific type of cell, but is already more specific than a stem cell and is pushed to differentiate into its "target" cell.

2) Can divide only a limited number of times.


They have the potential to increase healing and for potentially regenerating an entire organ from a few cells. They are investigated in treatment of:

    1) Diabetes

    2) Rheumatoid arthritis

    3) Parkinson's disease

    4) Alzheimer's disease

    5) Osteoarthritis

    6) Stroke and traumatic brain injury repair

    7) Learning defects

    8) Spinal cord injury repair

    9) Heart infarction

    10) Anti-cancer

    11) Baldness

    12) Replace missing teeth

    13) Repair hearing

    14) Restore vision

    15) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

    16) Crohn's disease

    17) Wound healing

They act as a repair system for the body. They replenish special cells, but also maintain the blood, skin and intestinal tissues. Progenitor cells can be activated in case of tissue injury, damaged or dead cells. It leads to the recovery of the tissue.
Controversy The use of human adult stem cells in research and therapy is not considered to be controversial. The use of human embryonic stem cells in research and therapy is controversial as they are derived from human 5-day-old embryos generated by IVF (in vitro fertility) clinics designated for scientific research. The progenitor cells are not subject to controversy.