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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 108485, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/108485
Review Article

Nanoscaffolds for Guided Cardiac Repair: The New Therapeutic Challenge of Regenerative Medicine

1Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
2The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy

Received 15 March 2013; Accepted 12 May 2013

Academic Editor: Mohamed Bououdina

Copyright © 2013 Letizia Ventrelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases represent the leading cause of death and disability in the world. At the end-stage of heart failure, heart transplantation remains the ultimate option. Therefore, due to the numerous drawbacks associated with this procedure, new alternative strategies to repair the wounded heart are required. Cell therapy is a potential option to regenerate functional myocardial tissue. The characteristics of the ideal cardiac cell therapy include the use of the proper cell type and delivery methods as well as the choice of a suitable biomaterial acting as a cellular vehicle. Since traditional delivery methods are characterized by several counter backs, among which low cell survival, new engineered micro- and nanostructured materials are today extensively studied to provide a good cardiac therapy. In this review, we report the most recent achievements in the field of cell therapy for myocardial infarction treatment and heart regeneration, focusing on the most commonly used cell sources, the traditional approaches used to deliver cells at the damaged site, and a series of novel technologies based on recent advancements of bioengineering, highlighting the tremendous potential that nanoscaffolds have in this framework.