Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, United States; Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is among the leading causes of mortality worldwide. The shortage of donor hearts to treat end-stage heart failure patients is a critical problem. An average of 3500 heart transplant surgeries are performed globally, half of these transplants are performed in the US alone. Stem cell therapy is growing rapidly as an alternative strategy to repair or replace the damaged heart tissue after a myocardial infarction (MI). Nevertheless, the relatively poor survival of the stem cells in the ischemic heart is a major challenge to the therapeutic efficacy of stem-cell transplantation. Recent advancements in tissue engineering offer novel biomaterials and innovative technologies to improve upon the survival of stem cells as well as to repair the damaged heart tissue following a myocardial infarction (MI). However, there are several limitations in tissue engineering technologies to develop a fully functional, beating cardiac tissue. Therefore, the main goal of this review article is to address the current advancements and barriers in cardiac tissue engineering to augment the survival and retention of stem cells in the ischemic heart.