Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the leading cause of death worldwide. Coronary artery occlusion, or myocardial infarction (MI) causes massive loss of cardiomyocytes. The ischemia area is eventually replaced by a fibrotic scar. From the mechanical dysfunctions of the scar in electronic transduction, contraction and compliance, pathological cardiac dilation and heart failure develops. Once end-stage heart failure occurs, the only option is to perform heart transplantation. The sequential changes are termed cardiac remodeling, and are due to the lack of endogenous regenerative actions in the adult human heart. Regenerative medicine and biomedical engineering strategies have been pursued to repair the damaged heart and to restore normal cardiac function. Such strategies include both cellular and acellular products, in combination with biomaterials. In addition, substantial progress has been made to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying heart repair and regeneration. In this review, we summarize and discuss current therapeutic approaches for cardiac repair and provide a perspective on novel strategies that holding potential opportunities for future research and clinical translation.
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