On Wednesday, "an ethics committee of a Japanese hospital gave its agreement for clinical research on regenerative medicine using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS)." This clinical research requested by the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation (IBRI) from a hospital in Kobe, now requires only the validation of the Japanese Ministry of Health. This request is due to be sent to the Ministry in March. When this approval is obtained, the clinical research may start between April 2013 and March 2014.
This process of reprogramming adult cells was developed by the Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who in October 2012 was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine with the Briton John B. Gurdon (Gènéthique press review from 8th to 12th of october 2012). In Japan, research work on iPS cells has become a priority and "the State has decided to give considerable funding for this as it regards it as an extremely promising field." Moreover, "the use of iPS cells raises no fundamental ethical problem, unlike the use of stem cells taken from human embryos." (Gènéthique press review from 12th to 16th of november 2012).