British scientists have moved on from using stem cells to grow livers to the treatment of post-MI patients.
About 100 patients will receive stem cells from their own bone marrow — or a placebo — within five hours of a heart attack in the study, expected to begin early next year.
“We are hoping that the patients will have an increased quality of life six months after the procedure,” said Professor John Martin, of University College London who will conduct the trial.
“All other studies have put cells into the heart in small groups of patients several days or weeks after the heart attack,” Martin told Reuters.
The British study will combine the normal treatment for a heart attack, along with the stem cell therapy.
The scientists believe that if the therapy is delivered quickly after an attack it can stop the damage to the heart. Earlier stem cell studies have tried to repair the heart after it has been damaged.
n a trial of 28 patients with severe heart disease, scientists in Hong Kong and Australia found the treatment improved the blood pumping ability of the heart and increased the patients’ ability to exercise.
Martin said within two years doctors should know the results of the study, funded by the UK Stem Cell Foundation which supports stem cell research.