Keio Univ.'s iPS-Derived Heart Cell Transplant Plan OK'd

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Tokyo, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)--A panel of experts under the Japanese health ministry on Thursday approved Keio University's clinical research to transplant heart muscle cells made from induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells into heart disease patients.

The research will be carried out by a team led by Prof. Keiichi Fukuda for three people aged between 20 and 74 suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, which lowers the heart's power to pump blood. The first transplant will be conducted by the end of this year at the earliest.

The team will use iPS cells made by Kyoto University from blood of a person who has a special immunological type with less risk of rejection.

The team will transform the iPS cells into heart muscle cells and inject about 50 million such cells into the heart using a special syringe. Immunosuppressive drugs will be used for about half a year, and the team will spend a year to check that the treatment does not lead to the development of a tumor or irregular heartbeat and if it restores heart function.

In January, Osaka University conducted the world's first transplant of heart muscle cells created from iPS cells. In the therapy, the heart muscle cells were made into sheets and pasted on the surface of the patient's heart so that a substance they emit helps the regeneration of heart muscles. The cells themselves, however, disappear quickly.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press