In Japan, a clinical trial is being prepared to treat spinal-cord injuries with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Some two million iPS cells will be transplanted into the spine of four adult patients who have lost their motor and sensory functions. These patients will then follow a rehabilitation programme and be monitored for one year. The team at Keio University in Tokyo has just received approval from the authorities and intends to check that iPS cells are safe and validate the transplantation method (see Japan: iPS cells for patients with spinal-cord injuries).
This is the first clinical trial using iPS cells in this indication. Other trials are testing their efficacy for treating eye diseases and Parkinson’s disease (see iPS and Parkinson’s disease: a French study). “In the future, all diseases could potentially be treated, I do not say cured, with iPS cells, even if only minimal effects are initially observed”, said Professor Masayo Takahashi of the Riken Center in 2017. Professor Takahashi conducted the first clinical trials using these cells (see “In the future, all diseases could potentially be treated with iPS cells”).