Allogeneic iPSCs to treat macular degeneration — clinical trial given green light

Written by Freya Leask

Scientists led by Masayo Takahashi will transplant iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells into 5 patients with wet-type age-related macular degeneration.

A team of scientists from RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (Kobe, Japan) and Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA; Kyoto, Japan), led by Masayo Takahashi and Yasuo Kurimoto, have been given a green light for a trial of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based therapy in 5 Japanese patients with macular degeneration.

“From iPSCs, we can develop different retinal cells, including retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and photoreceptor cells. However, photoreceptor cells are neurons so it can be difficult to make them work in the body, whereas RPE cells are not so it is easier to develop treatment,” explained lead researcher Takahashi in an interview with RegMedNet.

Following the halting of the first clinical trial for an iPSC-based treatment of macular degeneration carried out by Takahashi and her team, the trial aims to treat age-related wet-type macular degeneration by utilizing iPSC-derived RPE cells from a stockpile at CiRA. This second trial has been reviewed and assessed by all required Japanese regulatory bodies.

Read our interview with Takahashi to learn more about this new trial here. Plus, complete our iPSCs survey to receive free peer-reviewed content from Regenerative Medicine and Epigenomics.