Toward clinical application of stem cells for cardiac regeneration
Heart failure affects more than 10% of the Australian population over age 65, and the ageing population will ensure continued growth of this significant problem. There are various treatment options available, but the growing field of regenerative therapy offers promise to restore or replace tissue lost in those with either congenital or acquired cardiac defects. Stem cells have many potential properties, but they need multiple discussed qualities to succeed in this field such as ease of harvest and multiplication, and most importantly minimal ethical concerns. There are multiple cell types available and one of the challenges will be to find the most appropriate cell type for cardiac regeneration.Cardiac tissue engineering is being explored using both in vitro and in vivo techniques. In vitro methods are primarily limited in terms of the vascularisation and size of the construct. In vivo engineered constructs overcome these limitations in early models, but they are still not ready for human trials.This review aims to provide the reader with an outline of the cell-based and tissue engineering therapies currently being used and developed for cardiac regeneration, as well as some insight into the potential problems that may hamper its progress in the future.