Gene therapy and stem cell therapy for cardiovascular diseases today: a model for translational research

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Clinical trials looking at ways to promote myocardial regeneration have reported that the administered therapies have either neutral effects or modest benefits of questionable impact. These somewhat disappointing results should emphasize the need for translational research, with bidirectional feedback between the basic research laboratory and the clinical arena. Such a translational pathway is illustrated by the quest to find an effective therapy for restenosis, which culminated in the development of sirolimus. At this point a move away from the bedside and a return to the bench seems necessary to better understand the mechanisms of action of progenitor cells and stimulating factors. Without such basic knowledge research might be prematurely discouraged and the opportunity to fully understand the true potential of cardiovascular regenerative therapy might be missed.

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