Vascular stem cells—potential for clinical application

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Cell therapy is a growing area of research as an alternative to pharmaceuticals or surgery for the treatment of ischaemic disease. Studies are focusing on delivering tissue-derived cells into damaged organs to promote vascular regeneration or gain of function.

Sources of data

Pubmed,, BHF website.

Areas of agreement

Stem cells have the potential to become a viable treatment for many diseases, as indicated by the numerous pre-clinical studies demonstrating therapeutic benefit.

Areas of controversy

The mechanisms of action for transplanted stem cells are still open to debate. Proposed mechanism includes direct cell incorporation and paracrine action. Additionally, the secretome produced by transplanted cells remains largely unknown.

Growing points

Initial studies focused on delivering stem cells by injection; however, current research is utilizing biomaterials to target cell delivery to specific areas.

Areas timely for developing research

Whilst stem cell research in the laboratory is expanding rapidly, transition into clinical studies is hindered by the availability of equivalent clinical grade reagents.

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