Background: Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality
worldwide. In particular, heart failure remains a widespread disease with few effective
treatment options. Medical management with traditional pharmaceutical and surgical
methods have had limited success at relieving symptoms or prolonging life. Therefore, new
treatment options have undergone vigorous research.
Methods: We searched for reports of recent advances in the use of nanotechnology for stem cell therapy for
the treatment of cardiovascular disease. We focused on the use of nanotechnology to improve stem cell
culturing, tissue engineering, and tissue imaging post-cell implantation.
Results: Nanotechnology, in the form of spun or chemically assembled nanofibers, has been used to create a
three-dimensional structure to support the growth of stem cells and promote their differentiation into
functional myocardium. The addition of growth and signaling factors such as insulin-like growth factor 1
(IGF1) or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to these fibers has also improved stem cell
development. For imaging, and tracking cells after implantation, nanoscale fluorescent tags such as NaYF4
nanocrystals doped with Yb3+,Er3+ have been shown to be effective. Carbon nanotubules have also been
shown to be effective for following stem cell position in vivo.
Conclusion: Nanotechnology has enhanced stem cell-based regenerative therapy, aiding with the ex vivo
culturing and differentiation of stem cells as well as with in vivo cell tracking and monitoring. Future
advances in nanotechnology will likely produce significant changes in the methods and practice of
regenerative cell therapy.