Japan Govt OKs Transplants of iPS-Made Corneal Cells

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Tokyo, March 5 (Jiji Press)--A team of Osaka University researchers received approval in principle on Tuesday from a Japanese health ministry panel for the world's first clinical study plan to treat patients with damaged corneas by transplanting cells produced from induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells from other people.

The team will carry out the first transplant as early as July. Kyoto University will provide iPS cells from healthy people to the team, including Prof. Koji Nishida.

The team will create sheeted corneal cells about 0.05 millimeter thick from iPS cells and transplant them into patients with serious symptoms of a disease called corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency.

It will examine the safety and effect of the transplant for one year.

In the study, four patients aged 20 years or older will receive a transplant of some three million to four million corneal cells each, almost the same amount of corneal cells that are in the eyes of healthy people.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press