Japan Panel OKs iPS Clinical Study for Spinal Cord Treatment

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Tokyo, Feb. 18 (Jiji Press)--A special committee under the Japanese health ministry approved Monday a clinical research plan by a Keio University team to transplant nerve cells made from induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells into spinal cord injury patients.

It will be the world's first clinical study of such transplants. The team, led by professors Hideyuki Okano and Masaya Nakamura, plans to carry out the transplants by the end of this year at the earliest.

Patients aged 18 or over who damaged their spinal cords through injury or other causes will be subject to the clinical research. The team will choose four people with complete paralysis in their hands or legs who suffered the injuries two to four weeks before.

Using iPS cells made from the cells of healthy people by Kyoto University, the team will convert the iPS cells into precursor cells and inject some two million such cells into the injured spinal cord.

The team will spend a year testing the effects and checking the treatment's safety, making sure that the transplanted cells do not turn into tumor cells.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press