Good news for paralyzed people

A Japanese university announced on Friday that it has succeeded in transplanting human stem cells into a patient to treat acute spinal cord injury, the first time in the world that this regenerative technology has been applied to this paralyzing disease.

The patient received neuronal and progenitor cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

IPS cells are taken from adult cells, and genetically reprogrammed, to reproduce in any type of cell, depending on where in the body they are transplanted.

This technique won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2012, and was awarded to Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka.

Last month, researchers at Keio University in Tokyo transplanted two million of these cells to the first patient, after clinical trials were conducted on small animals, to verify that this amount did not affect safety.

And the university explained, in its statement: “The primary goal of this clinical study is to confirm the safety of using this method of treatment, and if it can be therapeutically effective.”

The secondary goal is to check whether this method eventually leads to progress in terms of neurological function and patients’ quality of life.

An independent panel of experts will evaluate the data of the first patient, to verify whether it is possible to resume, around April, the clinical trial, which will include a total of 4 patients.

Other clinical trials have previously been conducted on the use of this type of iPS cell on various diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease.


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