Exeter team involved in international adult stem cell trials

Exeter team involved in international adult stem cell trials

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Stem cells (seen here in green) have contributed to great medical advances. Image credit: UCI UC Irvine
Stem cells (seen here in green) have contributed to great medical advances. Image credit: UCI UC Irvine

A team from the University of Exeter are contributing to the largest ever trial of adult stem cell therapy alongside international partners. The €5.9 million  study, known as BAMI (Bone Acute Myocardial Infarction), is being funded by the EU and trials will  involve 3,000 patients, recruited throughout 21 partner nations. It is aiming to increase survival rates of people who have suffered from heart attacks.

The procedure being trialled will involve injecting patients’ own stem cells, extracted from bone marrow, into their damaged heart within days of suffering an attack. Researchers hope to prove that survivors of heart attacks can benefit from being treated with their own stem cells.

Dr Christine Hauskeller, a senior Philosophy lecturer at the University of Exeter, and her team have been allocated €70,000 to go towards monitoring standardisation and ethical harmonisation throughout the study. The cross-national nature of the project means that due to differences in hospitals and general practice the process must be carefully checked so that results are produced accurately and according to a standard procedure.

She explained, “We will systematically record and analyse what happened and how the trial proceeds across the partner nations. This provides valuable, concrete information for the improvement of European Ethical Harmonisation protocols and policies on international medical innovation”.

According to the British Heart Foundation 103,000 people suffer heart attacks in the UK each year, so research on the heart that can decrease threat to life is always well funded and supported by UK institutions. If the trial is successful the procedure could become widely used to help heart attack sufferers recover more effectively.

Gemma Joyce, Games Editor

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