Stem cell therapy for chronic heart failure

Gregor Poglajen, Bojan Vrtovec
Current Opinion in Cardiology 2015, 30 (3): 301-10

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this review was to discuss recent advances in clinical aspects of stem cell therapy in heart failure with emphasis on patient selection, stem cell types and delivery methods.

RECENT FINDINGS: Several stem cell types have been considered for the treatment of patients with heart failure. In nonischemic heart failure, transplantation of CD34 cells improved myocardial performance, functional capacity and neurohumoral activation. In ischemic heart failure, cardiosphere-derived cells were shown to reduce myocardial scar burden with concomitant increase in viable tissue and regional systolic wall thickening. Both autologous and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells were shown to be effective in improving heart function in patients with ischemic heart failure; this may represent an important step toward the development of a standardized stem cell product for widespread clinical use.

SUMMARY: Although trials of stem cell therapy in heart failure have shown promising results, the findings are not consistent. Given the wide spectrum of heart failure, it may be difficult to define a uniform stem cell therapy for all subsets of patients; instead, future stem cell therapeutic strategies should aim for a more personalized approach by establishing optimal stem cell type, dose and delivery method for an individual patient and disease state.

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