This study investigates for the first time whether damage to the heart muscle caused by heart attack, can be prevented by injecting stem cells taken from the patients’ own bone marrow into their hearts within a critical five hours of the attack.
It is the first known project of its type in the UK to combine stem cell delivery to the heart with primary angioplasty – where the blocked arteries in heart attack patients are opened as quickly as possible.
The project addresses the UK’s biggest killer and hopes to ascertain whether stem cells administered immediately after suffering a heart attack can speed up recovery, reduce the likelihood of suffering repeat attacks and reduce fatalities from later onset heart failure.
The trial has been finalised and the team has demonstrated the use of autologous bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) as early as possible (ideally within 24 hours) following acute myocardial infarction.
After 1 year, left ventricle function increased for both the BMC and placebo groups, however, there was no significant difference between the two. There was a significantly greater level of myocardial salvage seen in the BMC group, as well as reduced infarct size.
In addition, the BMC treatment was successfully administered during the 48-hour hospital stay following AMI and adverse side-effects were rare - highlighting the feasibility and safety technique.
Prof. John Martin and Prof. Anthony Mathur, University of London, in collaboration with Barts Hospital and
the Heart Hospital London