Improvement Still Needed in Cardiac Stem Cell Therapies

This researcher's view is that the major problems in stem cell therapies for the old have yet to be solved: "Despite a wide range of therapeutic interventions, the prognosis for most patients with heart failure remains poor. The identification of stem cells with the ability to generate cardiomyocytes and vascular cells and promote local repair and survival pathways has highlighted the ability of the heart to undergo regeneration and potentially provides a new therapeutic strategy for treatment of the failing heart. In recent years, however, clinical trials aimed at exploiting the beneficial effects of stem and progenitor cells to treat patients with cardiovascular disease have resulted in mild improvements at best, suggesting that these cells and/or the conditions in which they find themselves are not conducive to cardiac repair. Heart failure is most prevalent among older individuals, and a growing body of evidence suggests that with increasing age, cardiac stem and progenitor cells undergo senescent changes that impair their regenerative capacities. Moreover, environmental alterations over time appear to impact the capacity of these cells to improve cardiac function. Understanding these senescent changes may lead to the development of new and improved approaches to exploit the potential of stem cells to repair the aging heart."


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