Cardiac tissue engineering for the treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
Abraham R, Vricella L, Hibino N. Cardiac tissue engineering for the treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Transl Pediatr. 2023;12(8):1592-1600. doi:10.21037/tp-23-127
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a deadly congenital heart disease that arises when the left ventricle and outflow tract fail to develop appropriately, inhibiting the adequate perfusion of the rest of the body. Historically, this disease has been treated via a series of surgeries that allows the heart to use a single ventricle. These surgeries are often a palliative measure, and heart transplantation is the only definitive therapy that exists for this condition. It has been hypothesized that stem cell-based regenerative therapies could have a role in promoting cardiac tissue regeneration in HLHS patients who are undergoing palliative surgery. Several clinical trials have demonstrated that introducing pluripotent cells into the heart is safe, feasible, and capable of improving right ventricular ejection fraction (RVEF). However, while these approaches show great promise, there is still room for development. There is a substantial body of pre-clinical work that is focused on generating increasingly large and complex pieces of cardiac tissue in the form of cardiac patches, with the idea that these could be used to rebuild and strengthen the heart in a robust and long-lasting manner. In total, stem cell-based therapies have much to offer when it comes to improving the treatment of HLHS.