Critical path in cardiac stem cell therapy: an update on cell delivery

Despite optimal medical therapy, cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. One emerging therapeutic approach for treatment of cardiomyopathies is stem cell therapy. Use of stem cells for regenerative medicine has quickly evolved over the last decade. On the basis of encouraging pre-clinical results, stem cell therapy has developed rapidly into a potentially promising treatment for ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure. In this review, we summarize the current state-of-the-art of stem cell therapy and compare collective experiences gleaned from trials using intravenous, intra-coronary and intra-myocardial delivery in exacting credible benefits. We discuss implications of clinical outcomes reported in relation to the delivered stem cells as probable destiny therapy for cardiovascular repair.