Stem cell therapy and tissue engineering represent a forefront of current research in the treatment of heart disease. With these technologies, advancements are being made into therapies for acute ischemic myocardial injury and chronic, otherwise nonreversible, myocardial failure. The current clinical management of cardiac ischemia deals with reestablishing perfusion to the heart but not dealing with the irreversible damage caused by the occlusion or stenosis of the supplying vessels. The applications of these new technologies are not yet fully established as part of the management of cardiac diseases but will become so in the near future. The discussion presented here reviews some of the pioneering works at this new frontier. Key results of allogeneic and autologous stem cell trials are presented, including the use of embryonic, bone marrow-derived, adipose-derived, and resident cardiac stem cells.
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