, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 1353-1363
Date: 15 Jun 2013

Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease

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Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in Americans. After myocardial infarction, significant ventricular damage persists despite timely reperfusion and pharmacological management. Treatment is limited, as current modalities do not cure this damage. In the past decade, stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising therapeutic solution to restore myocardial function. Clinical trials have demonstrated safety and beneficial effects in patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and dilated cardiomyopathy. These benefits include improved ventricular function, increased ejection fraction, and decreased infarct size. Mechanisms of therapy are still not clearly understood. However, it is believed that paracrine factors, including stromal cell-derived factor-1, contribute significantly to stem cell benefits. The purpose of this article is to provide medical professionals with an overview on stem cell therapy for the heart and to discuss potential future directions.