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Trial of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) for treatment of AMD may receive regulatory go-ahead in Japan

The first clinical study to test the application of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to treat a human retinal disease may shortly receive clinical trial approval in Japan. The study, to be led by Dr. Masayo Takahashi of the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, is aiming to use iPS to treat age related macular degeneration. The report, highlighted in Nature’s edition of February 21 (Vol. 494, p287), indicated that a conditional go-ahead for the study had been given from the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation in Osaka. If the approval receives support from Japan’s Ministry of Health the first patients could be treated in about 12 months (March 2014).