Cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction and heart failure, are the main causes of death worldwide.
Classical pharmacological treatment may halt, but cannot reverse the underlying disease process. Cellular cardiomyoplasty
has the potential to reconstruct myocardium in situ; yet, it is hampered by poor cell survival, engraftment, and
differentiation. Tissue engineering has emerged as an alternative cell-based approach, aiming at partial or full replacement
of damaged organs with in vitro generated tissue equivalents. However, limited availability of therapeutic cardiomyocytes
poses a major challenge on cell-based and in particular tissue engineering-based therapies. Rapidly evolving stem cell
technologies, enabling mass cultures may overcome this limitation. Translating available experimental concepts into clinical
reality will be the ultimate challenge. This review discusses potentially therapeutic cells for cardiac repair, current
stem cell-based myocardial tissue engineering strategies, and the requirements for a translation of myocardial tissue engineering
into clinical practice.
Keywords: Myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiomyoplasty, tissue engineering, myocardial regeneration, stem cells
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