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11 September 2014 | 19:27
Next-generation stem cells cleared for human trial
A Japanese patient with a debilitating eye disease is about to become the first person to be treated with induced pluripotent stem cells.
The online publication  Nature News  runs that unlike embryonic stem cells, iPS cells are produced from adult cells, so they can be genetically tailored to each recipient. They are capable of becoming any cell type in the body, and have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. The CDB trial will be the first opportunity for the technology to prove its clinical value.

Masayo Takahashi, an ophthalmologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, has been using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to prepare a treatment for age-related macular degeneration.  Takahashi took skin cells from people with the disease and converted them to iPS cells. She then coaxed these cells to become retinal pigment epithelium cells, and then to grow into thin sheets that can be transplanted to the damaged retina.

Takahashi appeared in front of a 19-member health-ministry committee for the safety of the clinical use of stem cells.   
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