Latest in Science

Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Man receives someone else's reprogrammed stem cells

The donation forges a new path for treating diseases.
1056 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The concept of using stem cells for transplants just became a truly practical reality: a Japanese man with age-related macular degeneration has received the first transplant of stem cells from another human donor. Doctors repurposed the donor's skin cells by turning them into induced pluripotent stem cells (that is, forced into a state where they can become many kinds of cells) that then became retinal cells. If all goes according to plan with the multi-step procedure, these fresh cells will halt the degeneration and preserve the patient's remaining eyesight.

This isn't the first time that human stem cells have been used. There was another macular degeneration treatment in 2014. However, the prior example revolved around taking samples from the patient's own skin. That's risky when they may be dealing with genetic flaws that could hinder the treatment. So long as the newest procedure proves a long-term success, it opens the door to plucking cells from healthier candidates.

And importantly, there are plans for this to become relatively commonplace. Researcher Shinya Yamanaka is developing a stem cell bank that would give recipients immediate treatment, instead of having to wait months to cultivate cells from a matching candidate. This would only potentially address about 30 to 50 percent of the Japanese population, but that could be enough to improve the quality of life for many people.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1056 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

US will reportedly give Huawei another temporary reprieve

US will reportedly give Huawei another temporary reprieve

View
Beto O'Rourke wants to hold internet companies liable for hate speech

Beto O'Rourke wants to hold internet companies liable for hate speech

View
The next Apple Watch may come in titanium and ceramic models

The next Apple Watch may come in titanium and ceramic models

View
Behind the wheel of VW’s electric dune buggy prototype

Behind the wheel of VW’s electric dune buggy prototype

View
The Morning After: The struggles of Formula 1's underdogs

The Morning After: The struggles of Formula 1's underdogs

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr