Researches will investigate if an iPS transplant can regenerate nerve cells damaged by spinal cord injuries.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be induced to become a specific type of cell. Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application was the first group to receive approval for an iPS transplant just a few months ago. The study was looking at the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers were also focused on developing a manufacturing system that could be used to dispatch iPS cells for regenerative medicines. The Center is run by Shinya Yamanaka, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize for his discovery of iPS cells.
A second research group from Keio University, led by Masaya Nakamura, has recently received approval for a study of iPS cells as a treatment for nerve damage due to spinal cord injuries. The Kyoto Center is providing the iPS cells for this study, which will involve four patients. The researchers will transplant batches of 2 million iPS cells into each of the patients, with the potential to increase the dose if the treatment proves to be safe. The first patient could be treated in the summer of 2019. The approval for the trial was based on results achieved in an animal study in 2012, in which a monkey’s ability to walk was restored.