‘Reprogrammed’ stem cells to be tested in people with Parkinson’s

Doctors in Japan are poised to implant neural cells made from ‘reprogrammed’ stem cells into the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. It is only the third clinical application of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are developed by reprogramming the cells of body tissues such as skin to revert to an embryonic-like state, from which they can morph into other cell types.One of the trial’s leaders, stem-cell scientist Jun Takahashi, demonstrated in 2017 that the precursor cells differentiated into dopamine-producing neurons in monkeys that had a version of the disease. In 2014, ophthalmologist Masayo Takahashi — Takahashi’s wife — at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe developed an iPS-cell-based therapy to treat retinal disease. And in May, a team at Osaka University received approval to use cells created from iPS cells to treat heart disease.