20 December 2011 - Queen Mary (University of London) The largest trial of adult stem cell therapy in patients has received funding from the European Union. 3000 patients suffering heart attacks will be recruited into the trial throughout the European Union to test whether stem cells administered shortly after the heart attack will prolong life. Stem cells offer the promise of revolutionary treatment for human disease. However, a definitive test of whether they work or not in this specific case of heart treatment has been lacking. This study will provide the answer.
This is the largest trial of its kind, and it is hoped that it could increase survival rates by a quarter among patients having heart attacks. The study (BAMI) has been made possible thanks to a €5.9 million award from the European Commission. The BAMI study will involve 21 partners in 11 European countries. The results will be announced in five years and is designed to test whether stem cell therapy will save lives.
Globally, more than 17m* people died from cardiovascular diseases last year – more than from any other cause. This landmark trial is being led by Professor Anthony Mathur and colleagues from Barts and the London NHS Trust and Queen Mary, University of London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit.
Trial Chief Co-ordinator, Professor Mathur, said: “This is the biggest and most comprehensive trials of its kind in the world.”
“Our studies will tell us if adult stem cells in bone marrow can repair damaged hearts and, if so, how these cells should be administered to patients.”
Three thousand 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.
“Professor Mathur said: “This study will determine if adult stem cells can save lives in heart attack patients across Europe.”
“Professor John Martin (University College London) a partner in the trials said: “This trial brings together a powerful partnership of European doctors and scientists to solve a fundamental problem of importance to all people. It will give an answer about whether adult multi-potential stem cells in their natural environment can treat human disease.”
The new BAMI trial is much larger in size and scope, building on their previous work in this field.
The BAMI project has been partially funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7)