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iPS cell drug discovery taking off with first clinical trial

Kyoto team's process to improve safety, speed, success rate of medicine screening

Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application

OSAKA -- Using iPS cells to discover drugs faster and more reliably has become a practical reality as a Kyoto University team prepares the world's first clinical trials of a medicine so developed, marking a leap in medical science.

Professor Junya Toguchida has found a candidate drug for treating fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP -- a condition in which bone can grow in muscle tissue and elsewhere -- using induced pluripotent stem cells, the university's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application said Tuesday. Clinical trials are to start in September at the earliest. There is no effective remedy yet for the rare condition, from which around 80 Japanese are said to suffer.

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