Japan's first stem cell transplant to treat heart disease

Japan's first stem cell transplant to treat heart disease
Japan's first stem cell transplant to treat heart disease

For the first time, a team of Japanese specialists performed a heart muscle tissue transplant made from induced stem cells (iPS cells) to treat severe heart disease. This was reported on Monday on the website of Osaka University, whose doctors were responsible for treating the patient.

He was diagnosed with a severe stage of ischemic cardiomyopathy in which blood vessels become blocked and blood cannot reach the heart muscle. During the operation, he was transplanted three "sheets" of tissue made from iPS cells. Thanks to them, new vessels will be formed, and the functions of the heart will be restored, the university noted.

The patient underwent successful surgery and was transferred to the general ward. Over the next three years, doctors expect to carry out at least nine more similar operations to make sure that the method of treatment used is effective.

After the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in the field of stem cells in 2012, interest in this topic from both Japanese society and the government has grown exponentially. Regenerative medicine has been declared one of the priority directions of the development of science. iPS cells, under a certain chemical action, are capable of becoming cells of any type, which theoretically makes it possible to grow tissues for different organs. Nevertheless, according to a number of experts, the transplantation of grown tissues is fraught with the development of malignant tumors.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has previously issued several approvals for operations to treat spinal injuries and eye diseases using iPS cells.