Regenerative medicine and human models of human disease


Recent advances in stem-cell technology are now allowing the mechanisms of human disease to be studied in human cells. A new era for regenerative medicine is arising from such disease models, extending beyond early cell-based therapies and towards evaluating genetic variation in humans and identifying the molecular pathways that lead to disease, as well as targets for therapy.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Multipotent cardiovascular progenitor cells and their differentiated progeny.


  1. 1

    Cowan, C. A. et al. Derivation of embryonic stem-cell lines from human blastocysts. N. Engl. J. Med. 350, 1353–1356 (2004).

  2. 2

    Yu, J. et al. Induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from human somatic cells. Science 318, 1917–1920 (2007).

  3. 3

    Takahashi, K. et al. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from adult human fibroblasts by defined factors. Cell 131, 861–872 (2007).

  4. 4

    Osafune, K. et al. Marked differences in differentiation propensity among human embryonic stem cell lines. Nature Biotechnol. 26, 313–315 (2008).

  5. 5

    Laugwitz, K. L., Moretti, A., Caron, L., Nakano, A. & Chien, K. R. Islet1 cardiovascular progenitors: a single source for heart lineages? Development 135, 193–205 (2008).

  6. 6

    Laugwitz, K. L. et al. Postnatal isl1+ cardioblasts enter fully differentiated cardiomyocyte lineages. Nature 433, 647–653 (2005).

  7. 7

    Moretti, A. et al. Multipotent embryonic isl1+ progenitor cells lead to cardiac, smooth muscle, and endothelial cell diversification. Cell 127, 1151–1165 (2006).

  8. 8

    Qyang, Y. et al. The in vivo renewal and differentiation of Isl1+ cardiovascular progenitors is controlled by a Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Cell Stem Cell 1, 165–179 (2007).

  9. 9

    Wu, S. M. et al. Developmental origin of a bipotential myocardial and smooth muscle cell precursor in the mammalian heart. Cell 127, 1137–1150 (2006).

  10. 10

    Kattman, S. J., Huber, T. L. & Keller, G. M. Multipotent flk-1+ cardiovascular progenitor cells give rise to the cardiomyocyte, endothelial, and vascular smooth muscle lineages. Dev. Cell 11, 723–732 (2006).

  11. 11

    Feinberg, A. W. et al. Muscular thin films for building actuators and powering devices. Science 317, 1366–1370 (2007).

  12. 12

    Ott, H. C. et al. Perfusion-decellularized matrix: using nature's platform to engineer a bioartificial heart. Nature Med. 14, 213–221 (2008).

  13. 13

    Slepian, M. J. & Copeland, J. G. The total artificial heart in refractory cardiogenic shock: saving the patient versus saving the heart. Nature Clin. Pract. Cardiovasc. Med. 5, 64–65 (2008).

  14. 14

    Mather, P. J. & Konstam, M. A. Newer mechanical devices in the management of acute heart failure. Heart Fail. Rev. 12, 167–172 (2007).

  15. 15

    Kaye, D. M., Hoshijima, M. & Chien, K. R. Reversing advanced heart failure by targeting Ca2+ cycling. Annu. Rev. Med. 59, 13–28 (2008).

  16. 16

    Martin-Puig, S., Wang, Z. & Chien, K. R. Lives of a heart cell: tracing the origins of cardiac progenitors. Cell Stem Cell 2, 320–331 (2008).

Download references


The author is supported by grants from Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Fondation Leducq and the National Institutes of Health. This article is dedicated to N. E. Shumway.

Author information

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

K.R.C. is a founder of Celladon, a biotechnology company that develops treatments for cardiovascular disease.

Additional information

Correspondence should be addressed to the author (

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chien, K. Regenerative medicine and human models of human disease. Nature 453, 302–305 (2008) doi:10.1038/nature07037

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.