Stem cells transplantation has become a reality. On Tuesday, a Japanese man in his 60s became the first human being who received reprogrammed stem cells from another human donor.
Researchers derived the cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS). Which are created by removing mature cells from one individual and reprogramming them back to an embryonic state. In that state, those cells can turn into a type of cell useful to treat any particular disease.
Treating macular degeneration
In this case, the patient was suffering from age-related macular degeneration that could make someone go blind in advanced age. The physicians took the skin cells from an anonymous donor and reprogrammed them into a type of retinal cells, which then were transplanted into his retina. They hope, if all goes according to the plan, the cells will cease the degeneration and protect the remaining eyesight.
Passing from self-donation
This isn’t the first time that human stem cells have been tried out. In 2014, a Japanese woman suffering from macular degeneration underwent a similar procedure where the retinal cells were evolved from iPS cells and were successfully transplanted.
However, the difference is the woman’s case revolved around taking cells from her own skin. The latest procedure was performed at the same hospital by the same physician, Yasuo Kurimoto, who decided to rework the old procedure with cells taken from another donor.
The patient’s acceptance of the transplanted cells opens up the doors for exploring more on that subject. Researchers could use a combination of stem cells from different donors in the future, which could treat different diseases.