The largest clinical trial involving the use of stem cells in treating heart attack patients has got underway in London.
The BAMI study, involving 3,000 people in 11 European countries, attempts to check whether using a patient's own stem cell in treating heart attacks can reduce the risk of death and repair the damaged tissue. The study has been launched in the London Chest Hospital, with the patients being treated within five days of suffering a heart attack.
All of the patients will first receive the standard treatment to widen their narrowed arteries, by inserting a stent. Doctors will then inject stem cells, taken from the patients' own bone marrows, into their hearts with experts hoping that this will increase the survival rates of the patients by more than 25 percent.
"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", the chief trial co-ordinator, Professor Anthony Mathur said.