Stem Cells in Cardiovascular Diseases: 30,000-Foot View.
Stem cell and regenerative approaches that might rejuvenate the heart have immense intuitive appeal for the public and scientific communities. Hopes were fueled by initial findings from preclinical models that suggested that easily obtained bone marrow cells might have significant reparative capabilities; however, after initial encouraging pre-clinical and early clinical findings, the realities of clinical development have placed a damper on the field. Clinical trials were often designed to detect exceptionally large treatment effects with modest patient numbers with subsequent disappointing results. First generation approaches were likely overly simplistic and relied on a relatively primitive understanding of regenerative mechanisms and capabilities. Nonetheless, the field continues to move forward and novel cell derivatives, platforms, and cell/device combinations, coupled with a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to regenerative capabilities in more primitive models and modifications in clinical trial design suggest a brighter future.
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