• Kyodo

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A medical institution has applied for permission to carry out a clinical trial that will attempt to use embryonic stem cells to treat babies with a severe liver condition, which would be a first for Japan.

The National Center for Child Health and Development plans to commercialize the process around 2020 to treat babies with livers that are unable to detoxify ammonia, one of the compounds resulting from the body’s processing of protein.

In the envisioned trial, embryonic stem cells will be taken from a donor and injected into a patient’s blood cells.

If a child’s condition is serious, they may choose to have a liver transplant, but this can only be done if the patient weighs at least 6 kg. The new method involving embryonic stem cells can treat patients awaiting transplants.

Embryonic stem cells are expected to facilitate advances in regenerative medicine, in addition to the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Trials involving the use of iPS cells to treat eye disease has already begun in Japan.