The latest discoveries and advanced knowledge in the fields of stem cell biology and developmental cardiology hold great promise for cardiac regenerative medicine, enabling researchers to design novel therapeutic tools and approaches to regenerate cardiac muscle for diseased hearts. However, progress in this arena has been hampered by a lack of reproducible and convincing evidence, which at best has yielded modest outcomes and is still far from clinical practice. To address current controversies and move cardiac regenerative therapeutics forward, it is crucial to gain a deeper understanding of the key cellular and molecular programs involved in human cardiogenesis and cardiac regeneration. In this review, we consider the fundamental principles that govern the " programming " and " reprogramming " of a human heart cell and discuss updated therapeutic strategies to regenerate a damaged heart.
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