Increasing numbers of paediatric patients with congenital heart defects are surviving to adulthood, albeit with continuing clinical needs. Hence, there is still scope for revolutionary new strategies to correct vascular anatomical defects. Adult patients are also surviving longer with the adverse consequences of ischemic vascular disease, especially after acute coronary syndromes brought on by plaque erosion and rupture. Vascular tissue engineering and therapeutic angiogenesis provide new hope for these patients. Both approaches have shown promise in laboratory studies, but have not yet been able to deliver clear evidence of clinical success. More research into biomaterials, molecular medicine and cell and molecular therapies is necessary. This review article focuses on the new opportunities offered by targeting microRNAs for the improved production and greater empowerment of vascular cells for use in vascular tissue engineering or for increasing blood perfusion of ischemic tissues by amplifying the resident microvascular network.
- Centre for Surgical Research