Transplantations of various stem cells or their progeny have repeatedly improved cardiac performance in animal models of myocardial injury; however, the benefits observed in clinical trials have been generally less consistent. Some of the recognized challenges are poor engraftment of implanted cells and, in the case of human cardiomyocytes, functional immaturity and lack of electrical integration, leading to limited contribution to the heart's contractile activity and increased arrhythmogenic risks. Advances in tissue and genetic engineering techniques are expected to improve the survival and integration of transplanted cells, and to support structural, functional, and bioenergetic recovery of the recipient hearts. Specifically, application of a prefabricated cardiac tissue patch to prevent dilation and to improve pumping efficiency of the infarcted heart offers a promising strategy for making stem cell therapy a clinical reality.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support of their research, NIH UO1 HL134764, the Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium (grant HL099997), and the Symposium held at University of Alabama-Birmingham in March 2016. This work was a product of discussions at the NIH Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium, March 2016.
© 2017 The Authors
- biocompatible materials
- heart failure
- myocardial infarction
- stem cells