It has been over a decade since the concept of cell-based therapy was coined as a method to treat patients who suffered the consequences of myocardial infarction (MI). Shortly after promising preclinical results emerged, a rapid translation to the clinic was made using stem cells isolated from a variety of sources, including bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM-MNC), mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and cardiac progenitor cells (CPC). The hypothesis was that transplanted stem cells would provide cues that enhance the wound healing process, and locally differentiate into new contractile cardiac tissue. However, although the clinical trials have been shown to be safe, only a relatively small effect on cardiac function has been observed. It has become clear that each cell type applied in cell-based therapy has its own ability for cardiac repair. Basic knowledge of each cell population's behaviour and its ability to interfere in different stages of post-MI wound healing may enable us to design an optimised cell-based therapy.
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