Recent Progress in Stem Cell Modification for Cardiac Regeneration

Stem Cells Int. 2018 Jan 16;2018:1909346. doi: 10.1155/2018/1909346. eCollection 2018.


During the past decades, stem cell-based therapy has acquired a promising role in regenerative medicine. The application of novel cell therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases could potentially achieve the ambitious aim of effective cardiac regeneration. Despite the highly positive results from preclinical studies, data from phase I/II clinical trials are inconsistent and the improvement of cardiac remodeling and heart performance was found to be quite limited. The major issues which cardiac stem cell therapy is facing include inefficient cell delivery to the site of injury, accompanied by low cell retention and weak effectiveness of remaining stem cells in tissue regeneration. According to preclinical and clinical studies, various stem cells (adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells) represent the most promising cell types so far. Beside the selection of the appropriate cell type, researchers have developed several strategies to produce "second-generation" stem cell products with improved regenerative capacity. Genetic and nongenetic modifications, chemical and physical preconditioning, and the application of biomaterials were found to significantly enhance the regenerative capacity of transplanted stem cells. In this review, we will give an overview of the recent developments in stem cell engineering with the goal to facilitate stem cell delivery and to promote their cardiac regenerative activity.

Publication types

  • Review