iPS cell therapy reported safe

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Science  17 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6330, pp. 1109-1110
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6330.1109

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Japanese researchers reported this week that the first trial of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in a human has proved safe and effective in halting the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), though there was minimal improvement in vision. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. The team took a skin sample from the patient and derived iPS cells, which can be used to create all the tissues within a body. They differentiated the iPS cells into the kind of retinal tissue damaged by AMD and surgically slipped a small replacement graft into one of the patient's eyes. Starting with the patient's own cells avoids the chance of immune rejection of the new tissue. But deriving such genetically matched cells is so expensive the group will use material from an iPS cell bank for further trials.