Launching a clinical program of stem cell therapy for cardiovascular repair

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Since the feasibility of stem cell therapy has been recognized, enthusiasm for this therapy has grown exponentially. Nevertheless, as professionals we must realize that this enthusiasm should relate not only to our scientific interest but also to the care of our patients. Within the next decade, patients' demand for the latest therapies is likely to rise because of changes in health care systems that will broaden availability. Stem cell therapy is likely to be among these in-demand treatments, and we must be prepared for this change. In this Review we discuss the basic principles of how to launch a clinical program for stem cell therapy for cardiovascular repair. First, we look at the composition of the program team. Second, we describe the different types of stem cells available in clinical practice. Third, we present in depth the two most widely applicable delivery approaches. Finally, we discuss selection of patients and approaches and clinical and imaging methods by which to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this therapy.

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