National / Science & Health

iPS-based heart treatment moves closer to clinical study as Osaka University panel gives approval


A screening committee at Osaka University has broadly approved a plan to perform a clinical study on the treatment of severe heart disease using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

The group behind the research, led by professor Yoshiki Sawa, is set to submit the plan to the health ministry.

If fully approved, the group is expected to start the clinical study by the end of this year at the earliest.

In the study, the group plans to apply sheets of heart muscle cells made from iPS cells, which can develop into almost any type of tissue, to the hearts of three ischemic cardiomyopathy patients aged 18 to 79, and confirm the safety of the treatment.

The sheets will be about 0.1 millimeter thick and about 5 centimeters in diameter. The group will use iPS cells stockpiled at Kyoto University.

The committee approved the plan subject to a number of conditions, including that the group uses easily comprehensible language in written explanations about the treatment to the patients.

“We’ve made the first step, but there are more that we have to pass,” Sawa said. “We want to make the therapy available to patients as soon as possible,” he added.