Japan approves stem cell clinical trials

AFP: Japan’s government on Friday gave its seal of approval to the world’s first clinical trials using stem cells harvested from a patient’s own body.

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura signed off on a proposal by two research institutes that will allow them to begin tests aimed at treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common medical condition that causes blindness in older people, using “induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells”.

Stem cell research is a pioneering field that may offer a cure for conditions that are presently incurable, and scientists hope these clinical trials on a treatment for AMD may offer hope to millions of people robbed of their sight.

Photo: This file photo, released from Japan’s Kyoto University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) on January 23, 2013, shows part of the renal tubule cells (red part) which were differentiated from human stem cells at the CiRA in Kyoto.

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