KOBE – The world’s first clinical research using induced pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells, for the regeneration of retina begins Thursday, according to a Japanese team of researchers.
The state-backed scientific research institute Riken, based in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation based in Kobe applied in February for government permission to conduct clinical research.
Masayo Takahashi, project leader from Riken, which is officially named the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, said Tuesday her team will decide on how to carry out the pilot clinical study including the selection criteria for patients.
She has said treatment will actually take place about a year after, thus an actual transplant is possible next summer.
The team will produce iPS cells from six patients with exudative age-related macular degeneration — a condition that can cause a sudden drop in vision due to retinal damage — and grow them into retinal pigment epithelial cells for transplantation in the patients.