Pluripotent stem cells hold unprecedented potential for regenerative medicine, disease modeling and drug
screening. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), standard model for pluripotency studies, have been recently flanked by induced
pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are obtained from somatic cells via epigenetic and transcriptional reprogramming,
overcoming ESC-related ethical issues and enabling the possibility of donor-matching pluripotent cell lines. Since the
European Court of Justice banned patents involving embryo disaggregation to generate human ESCs, iPSCs can now fuel
the willingness of European companies to invest in treatments based on stem cells. Moreover, iPSCs share many unique
features of ESCs, such as unlimited self-renewal potential and broad differentiation capability, even though iPSCs seem
more susceptible to genomic instability and display epigenetic biases as compared to ESCs. Both ESCs and iPSCs have
been intensely investigated for cardiomyocyte production and cardiac muscle regeneration, both in human and animal
models. In vitro and in vivo studies are continuously expanding and refining this field via genetic manipulation and cell
conditioning, trying to achieve standard and reproducible products, eligible for clinical and biopharmaceutical scopes.
This review focuses on the recently growing body of patents, concerning technical advances in production, expansion and
cardiac differentiation of ESCs and iPSCs.