The recent discovery of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has revolutionized the field of stem cells. iPSCs have demonstrated that biological development is not an irreversible process and that mature adult somatic cells can be induced to become pluripotent. This breakthrough is projected to advance our current understanding of many disease processes and revolutionize the approach to effective therapeutics. Despite the great promise of iPSCs, many translational challenges still remain. In this article, we review the basic concept of induction of pluripotency as a novel approach to understand cardiac regeneration, cardiovascular disease modeling and drug discovery. We critically reflect on the current results of preclinical and clinical studies using iPSCs for these applications with appropriate emphasis on the challenges facing clinical translation.
Keywords: Cardiac regeneration; Disease modeling; Drug discovery; Induced pluripotent stem cells.