Purpose of review: Presentation of the current status of cardiac stem cell therapy for the treatment of ischaemic heart failure by highlighting recent clinical results and introducing ongoing trials. Furthermore, necessary upcoming procedural adjustments are discussed.
Recent findings: During the last decade, stem cell application in the setting of ischaemic heart failure has been evaluated in phase I and II clinical trials, proving safety and feasibility of this approach. Functional results gained so far indicate moderate benefits. However, conclusive evaluation of cell therapy will not be possible before completion of ongoing phase III multicentre trials. Moreover, questions regarding the optimal cell population for treatment in a chronic setting and the favourable time-point of cell delivery have not been ultimately answered.
Summary: Cell therapy for the treatment of ischaemic heart failure needs to be evaluated separately from the setting of acute myocardial infarction. In parallel with upcoming clinical evaluation in large-scale trials, further optimization of the 'cell product' regarding the favourable cell type and periprocedural processing, as well as route and time-point of application, is mandatory.