Heart transplantation (HT) is the only definitive treatment available for patients with end-stage heart failure who are refractory to medical and device therapies. However, HT as a therapeutic option, is limited by a significant shortage of donors. To overcome this shortage, regenerative medicine using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), such as human embryonic stem cells and human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), has been considered an alternative to HT. Several issues, including the methods of large-scale culture and production of hPSCs and cardiomyocytes, the prevention of tumorigenesis secondary to contamination of undifferentiated stem cells and non-cardiomyocytes, and the establishment of an effective transplantation strategy in large-animal models, need to be addressed to fulfill this unmet need. Although post-transplantation arrhythmia and immune rejection remain problems, the ongoing rapid technological advances in hPSC research have been directed toward the clinical application of this technology. Cell therapy using hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes is expected to serve as an integral component of realistic medicine in the near future and is being potentially viewed as a treatment that would revolutionize the management of patients with severe heart failure.
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