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Woman Gets Adult Stem Cells to Treat Macular Degeneration

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Dr. Masayo Takahashi

Researcher Dr. MasayoTakahashi
Credit for this photo and and one on homepage: Riken press release

by Peniel M. Dimberu, SingularityHub

Since stem cells were first hailed as a potential cure for a variety of diseases, we have witnessed setbacks, controversies, and failures. Now, however, human trials for the use of stem cells in treating degenerative eye disease have received the green light from an oversight committee in Japan after they agreed that the proposed treatment is safe.

The trial is especially significant because instead of employing controversial embryonic stem cells, researchers will instead use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells — that is, stem cells derived from the patient’s own body (in this case, the skin).

With the approval, a team of doctors, led by Dr. Yasuo Kurimoto, transplanted retinal tissue grown from a patient’s own induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in the hopes of treating her eye disease. The elderly woman suffers from age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of visual impairment in people over 50.

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© 2014 Singularity Education Group

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