Stem and progenitor cells have generated considerable scientific and commercial interest in recent years due to their potential for novel cell therapy for a variety of medical conditions. A highly active research area in the field of regenerative medicine is vascular biology. Blood vessel repair and angiogenesis are key processes with endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) playing a central role. Clinical trials for ischemic conditions, such as myocardial infarction and peripheral arterial disease, have suggested cell therapies to be feasible, safe, and potentially beneficial. Development of efficient methodologies to deliver EPC-based cytotherapies offers new hope for millions of patients with ischemic conditions. Evidence indicates that EPCs, depending on the subtype, mediate angiogenesis through different mechanisms. Differentiation into endothelium and complete integration into damaged vasculature was the first EPC mechanism to be proposed. However, many studies have demonstrated that vasoregulatory paracrine factor secretion by transplanted cells is also important. Many EPC subsets enhance angiogenesis and promote tissue repair by cytokine release without incorporating into the damaged vasculature. Whatever the mechanism, vascular repair and therapeutic angiogenesis using EPCs represent a realistic treatment option and also provides many commercialization opportunities. This review discusses recent advances in the EPC field whilst recounting relevant patents.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, bone marrow, endothelial progenitor, monocyte, stem cell, vascular repair, vasculogenesis, MONOCYTES, BLOOD VESSEL FORMATION, Mesoangioblast-like cells.