First patient’s own stem cells administered in largest-ever trial of stem cell therapy in heart attack patients

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Doctors at The London Chest Hospital have administered the first patient’s own stem cells in the world’s largest-ever trial of adult stem cell therapy in heart attack patients.

According to a press release from the Heart Cells Foundation, patients admitted to the hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust, will be among the first of 3,000 individuals involved in the Europe-wide trial to test whether administering a patient’s own stem cells shortly after a heart attack will prolong life.

The patients will have their own stem cells taken from their bone marrow and injected into their heart within five days of suffering a heart attack. It is hoped that it could increase survival rates by a quarter among patients having heart attacks.

The BAMI (The effect of intracoronary reinfusion of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells on allcause mortality in acute myocardial infarction) study has been made possible thanks to a €5.9 million award from the European Commission and will involve 19 partners in 10 European countries.

This new trial follows three smaller previous successful trials led by Barts Health NHS Trust Consultant Cardiologist Professor Anthony Mathur and funded by the Heart Cells Foundation.

The press release further reports that the trials, named ‘REGENERATE’, were concluded earlier this year and have shown positive initial results which are due to be released in the near future in a leading scientific journal. It is now hoped this new, larger trial could definitively confirm stem cell therapy as an effective way of treating these kinds of heart attack patients in the future. The results, when announced, are designed to show whether stem cell therapy will save lives.

This landmark trial is being led by Anthony Mathur and colleagues from Barts Health NHS Trust, Queen Mary, University of London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit and University College London.

Trial chief co-ordinator, Mathur, says: “The BAMI study is the biggest and most comprehensive trial of its kind in the world and follows the successful REGENERATE trials. It has taken two years to get to the point where we are ready to accept patients, but we have now reached that stage and we are all very excited. Our studies will tell us if adult stem cells from bone marrow can repair damaged hearts and, if so, how these cells should be administered to patients.”

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