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Science

Japan approves first trials of stem cell-based heart treatment

iPS procedure raises hopes for alternative to donations and artificial organs

Osaka University professor Yoshiki Sawa outlines his plans for treating heart failure in 2017. (Photo by Hiromasa Matsuura)

TOKYO -- Japan is set to host the world's first clinical trials involving the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to treat heart failure. 

A special health ministry panel on Wednesday gave Osaka University the green light to carry out the study, pending final authorization from the health minister. This would be the second instance of using iPS-derived cells for disease treatment in Japan, after groundbreaking trials involving retinal cells launched in 2014.

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