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Myocardial infarction is a leading cause of death globally due to the inability of the adult human heart to regenerate after injury. Cell therapy using cardiac-derived progenitor populations emerged about two decades ago with the aim of replacing cells lost after ischaemic injury. Despite early promise from rodent studies, administration of these populations has not translated to the clinic. We will discuss the need for cardiac regeneration and review the debate surrounding how cardiac progenitor populations exert a therapeutic effect following transplantation into the heart, including their ability to form de novo cardiomyocytes and the release of paracrine factors. We will also discuss limitations hindering the cell therapy field, which include the challenges of performing cell-based clinical trials and the low retention of administered cells, and how future research may overcome them.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Soc Trans

Publication Date



cardiac progenitor, cell therapy, heart regeneration, myocardial infarction