'Largest ever' trial of adult stem cells in heart attack patients begins

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The largest ever trial of adult stem cell therapy in heart attack patients has begun at The London Chest Hospital in the UK.

Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death. Globally, more than 17 million people died from heart disease last year. In the US, over 1 million people suffer a heart attack each year, and about half of them die.

Heart attacks are usually caused by a clot in the coronary artery, which stops the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. If the blockage is not treated within a few hours, then it causes the heart muscle to die.

The stem cell trial - titled "The effect of intracoronary reinfusion of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BM-MNC) on allcause mortality in acute myocardial infarction," or "BAMI" for short - has been made possible due to a 5.9 million ($8.1 million) award from the European Commission.

The full study involves 19 partners across France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK.

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'Largest ever' trial of adult stem cells in heart attack patients begins

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