Emerging evidence has shown that administration of angiogenic growth factors, either as recombinant protein or by gene transfer, can augment tissue perfusion through neovascularization in animal models of myocardial and hindlimb ischemia. Many cytokines have angiogenic activity; one of those that have been best studied in animal models and clinical trials is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF has been known to be a key regulator of physiologic and pathologic angiogenesis associated with tumor. Recently the effect of VEGF is not restricted to the direct angiogenic effect in vivo but includes mobilization of bone-marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells and augmentation of postnatal vasculogenesis in situ. Clinical trials of therapeutic angiogenesis with VEGF in patients with end-stage coronary artery disease have shown increases in exercise time and reductions in anginal symptoms and have provided objective evidence of improved perfusion and left ventricular function. Larger scale placebo-controlled trials with recombinant protein (rhVEGF165) have been limited to intracoronary and intravenous administration and have shown favorable trends in exercise time and angina frequency. Small-scale, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials of gene transfer (phVEGF-2) via thoracotomy or percutaneous intramyocardial delivery demonstrated significant improvement of both subjective symptoms and objective measures of myocardial ischemia. Both therapeutic modalities appear to be safe and well tolerated. Further studies are required to determine the optimal dose, formulation, route of administration, and combinations of growth factors and the utility of adjunctive endothelial progenitor cell or other stem cell supplementation, to provide safe and effective therapeutic myocardial neovascularization.