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Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2007 Jul-Aug;50(1):18-30.

The bone marrow--cardiac axis of myocardial regeneration.

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Cardiac Muscle Research Laboratory, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Congestive heart failure remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Current therapies do not address the underlying pathophysiology of this disease, namely, the progressive loss of functional cardiomyocytes. The notion of repairing or regenerating lost myocardium via cell-based therapies remains highly appealing. The recent identification of adult stem cells, including both cardiac stem/progenitor cells and bone marrow stem cells, has triggered an explosive interest in using these cells for physiologically relevant cardiomyogenesis. Enthusiasm for cardiac regeneration via cell therapy has further been fueled by the many encouraging reports in both animals and human studies. Further intensive research in basic science and clinical arenas are needed to make this next great frontier in cardiovascular regenerative medicine a reality. In this review, we focus on the role of bone marrow-derived stem cells and cardiac stem/progenitor cells in cardiomyocyte homeostasis and myocardial repair and regeneration, as well as provide a brief overview of current clinical trials using cell-based therapeutic approaches in patients with heart disease.

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