Keio to Begin World First iPS Clinical Trial for Spinal Injuries
February 20, 2019
On February 18, the Subcommittee for Regenerative Medicine of the Health Sciences Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare gave conditional approval to a plan submitted by Keio University Hospital in December 2018 for clinical research on the use of iPS cells to treat spinal cord injuries. The Keio University team will be led by Professor Hideyuki Okano, of the Department of Physiology, and Professor Masaya Nakamura, of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, at the Keio University School of Medicine.
In a world first for clinical research, the team will seek four patients who have lost mobility and sensory functions due to spinal cord injuries sustained two to four weeks earlier in traffic collisions or other accidents and transplant neural progenitor cells derived from iPS cells. Trials are due to begin as early as this year, and patients will be closely monitored to test the safety and effectiveness of using iPS cells in treating spinal injuries over a one-year period.
At the press conference that was hold after the subcommittee released its decision, Professor Okano expressed his delight at being able to start clinical trials after having researched cell treatment for twenty years, as well as affirming his commitment to ensure safety and provide the best possible treatment to patients.