The one and only clinical trial using iPS cells, which was suspended in early summer 2015, is about to resume. Initially launched in Japan in 2014, the aim of this trial is to treat ARMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration), the first cause of blindness in people over 55 years of age in industrialised countries. It is led by ophthalmologist Masayo Takahashi (see. Clinical trial with iPS cells: a new era of personalised medicine, Japan: suspension of the first clinical trial using iPS cells).
From now on, scientists will use iPS bank cells in conjunction with iPS cells from patients. A partnership was created on 30 May between the University of Kyoto, the Riken Institute, the University of Osaka and Kobe Hospital to carry out this trial in 2017. Professor Yamanaka, Nobel Prize winner for his discovery of iPS cells in 2006 and Director of the Riken Institute, welcomes this “sound” partnership.
This new strategy will also cut iPS transplantation costs considerably. The first transplant performed on an ARMD patient in 2014 cost $931,000. This could be reduced to one-fifth using donor iPS cells.
Another clinical trial using iPS cells is in the pipeline in Japan under the supervision of Jun Takahaschi.
Asian Review (2016/06/07)