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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 971614, 10 pages
Review Article

Cell Therapies for Heart Function Recovery: Focus on Myocardial Tissue Engineering and Nanotechnologies

1Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Science, University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 5, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
2Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery, Inselspital Berne, Berne University Hospital and University of Berne, Switzerland
3Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology, 9014 St. Gallen, Switzerland

Received 29 July 2011; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editor: Daryll M. Baker

Copyright © 2012 Marie-Noëlle Giraud 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.


Cell therapies have gained increasing interest and developed in several approaches related to the treatment of damaged myocardium. The results of multiple clinical trials have already been reported, almost exclusively involving the direct injection of stem cells. It has, however, been postulated that the efficiency of injected cells could possibly be hindered by the mechanical trauma due to the injection and their low survival in the hostile environment. It has indeed been demonstrated that cell mortality due to the injection approaches 90%. Major issues still need to be resolved and bed-to-bench followup is paramount to foster clinical implementations. The tissue engineering approach thus constitutes an attractive alternative since it provides the opportunity to deliver a large number of cells that are already organized in an extracellular matrix. Recent laboratory reports confirmed the interest of this approach and already encouraged a few groups to investigate it in clinical studies. We discuss current knowledge regarding engineered tissue for myocardial repair or replacement and in particular the recent implementation of nanotechnological approaches.