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Stem Cells International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 536758, 20 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/536758
Review Article

Stem Cell Therapy in Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Pot of Gold or Pandora's Box

1Interventional Cardiologist, Sir H.N. Hospital and Research Centre, Raja Rammohan Roy Road, Mumbai 400 004, India
2Sir H.N. Medical Research Society, Sir H.N. Hospital and Research Centre, Raja Rammohan Roy Road, Mumbai 400 004, India

Received 1 September 2010; Revised 18 December 2010; Accepted 29 December 2010

Academic Editor: Shijun Hu

Copyright © 2011 V. K. Shah and K. K. Shalia. 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

Stem cell therapy for conditions characterized by myocyte loss in myocardial infarction and heart failure is intuitively appealing. Stem cells from various sources, including heart itself in preclinical and animal studies, have shown the potential to improve the function of ventricular muscle after ischaemic injury. The clinical experience from worldwide studies have indicated the safety profile but with modest benefits. The predominant mechanisms of transplanted cells for improving cardiac function have pointed towards paracrine effects rather than transdifferentiation into cardiomyocytes. Thus, further investigations should be encouraged towards bench side and bedside to resolve various issues for ensuring the correct type and dosing of cells, time, and method of delivery and identify correct mechanism of functional improvement. An interdisciplinary effort at the scientific, clinical, and the government front will bring successful realization of this therapy for healing the heart and may convert what seems now a Pandora's Box into a Pot of Gold.