Stem cell therapy for cardiac disease is an exciting but highly controversial research area. Strategies such as cell transplantation and reprogramming have demonstrated both intriguing and sobering results. Yet as clinical trials proceed, our incomplete understanding of stem cell behavior is made evident by numerous unresolved matters, such as the mechanisms of cardiomyocyte turnover or the optimal therapeutic strategies to achieve clinical efficacy. In this Perspective, we consider how cardiac stem cell biology has led us into clinical trials, and we suggest that achieving true cardiac regeneration in patients may ultimately require resolution of critical controversies in experimental cardiac regeneration.
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