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.
Treated for cancer, two men now appear free of HIV
NBC News: Two men who had grueling bone marrow treatments for cancer are enjoying a happy side effect: They appear free of the AIDS virus, researchers reported on Wednesday.
The doctors are not quite ready to call it a cure, but they say the men have stopped taking HIV drugs and have remained free of the virus for almost four months in one case and almost two months in another.
“While these results are exciting, they do not yet indicate that the men have been cured,” says Dr. Timothy Henrich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Photo: Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, speaking at an AIDS research conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Steve Forrest / International AIDS Society)
ER visits tied to energy drinks doubles since 2007, survey finds
AP: A new government survey suggests the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled nationwide during the past four years, the same period in which the supercharged drink industry has surged in popularity in convenience stores, bars and on college campuses.
From 2007 to 2011, the government estimates the number of emergency room visits involving the neon-labeled beverages shot up from about 10,000 to more than 20,000. Most of those cases involved teens or young adults, according to a survey of the nation’s hospitals released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Photo: Reza Estakhrian / Getty Images stock via NBCNews.com
CDC: Flu spreads to 47 US states, but may be starting to wane
Flu activity remains high across the US, but there are signs this year’s bad season may be waning in some areas, NBC News reports.
Forty-seven states reported widespread flu activity as of the week ending Jan. 5, up from 41 the previous week. Twenty-four states and New York City reported high levels of flu, but that was down from 29 states the week before, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Photo: Russell Waddley of Miami receives a flu shot in early December from Alina Pastoriza Garcia at a CVS pharmacy’s MinuteClinic. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images file)
British researcher John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday for discovering that mature, specialized cells of the body can be reprogrammed into stem cells — a discovery that scientists hope to turn into new treatments.
Photo: An undated handout photo shows iPS cells derived from adult human dermal fibroblasts released by Kyoto University Professor Shinya Yamanaka. (Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University via Reuters)