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Japanese researchers 1st to use iPS cells to repair spinal cord injury

14 Jan 2022 20:06:20 | Update: 14 Jan 2022 20:28:50
Japanese researchers 1st to use iPS cells to repair spinal cord injury
— Courtesy/ University of New Brunswick.org

Japanese researchers at Tokyo's Keio University on Friday said it has conducted the world's first clinical test involving the transplant of cells developed from iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells to repair a spinal cord injury. 

Hideyuki Okano and Masaya Nakamura, two professors from Keio University in Tokyo, are leading a team studying ways to regenerate nerves in patients who have lost motor and sensory functions using iPS cells.

The team said in an online press conference on Friday that they transplanted about 2 million iPS-derived cells into a patient who suffered a spinal cord injury.

This procedure was conducted less than four weeks before the operation, they said.

"I am glad to come to this stage after overcoming various difficulties," Okano, a professor who belongs to the university's research team that conducted the clinical test, told the press conference.

The team said the patient is in good condition after the surgery that was conducted at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo.

They said the patient will undergo one year of monitoring so that the safety of the procedure can be ensured.

Three other patients have been lined up to receive similar surgeries, from the 5,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries in Japan each year which have caused irreparable damage.