Keio Univ. Panel OKs World's 1st iPS Spinal Cord Treatment

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Nov. 28 (Jiji Press)--A Keio University special committee said Wednesday it has officially approved the world's first clinical research to transplant nerve cells made from induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells into spinal cord injury patients.

The university plans to carry out the transplants as early as fiscal 2019 if the research is approved by the health ministry.

The team, led by professors Hideyuki Okano and Masaya Nakamura, will inject some 2 million nerve precursor cells converted from iPS cells into the damaged spinal cords of four patients who suffered the injuries two to four week before.

The team will spend a year to examine whether any transplanted cells have turned into tumors and whether the patients' arm and leg movements have improved.

Spinal cord injuries make it difficult or impossible to move their arms or legs. The number of such patients is believed to exceed 100,000 in Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press