In 2012, scientists John Gerdon and Signa Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the possibility to create iPS cells. iPS cells are a line of stem cells obtained in laboratory conditions from adult cells. The possibility of reprogramming mature cells into stem-like cells has opened up new horizons in the treatment of life-threatening diseases. However, this new method of treatment requires long-term studies to evaluate its safety and effectiveness. At the same time, native hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells isolated from cord blood, bone marrow, placenta have been widely used in medicine, are well studied and their safety has been confirmed by tens of thousands of successful applications.
In 2013, Japan began the world’s first clinical study on the use of iPS cells in the treatment of macular degeneration of the retina, which progresses with age and often leads to blindness.
And recently, the Ministry of Health of Japan for the first time in the world authorized a clinical study on the use of iPS-cells in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Studies will be conducted at the University of Osaka, where the head of this project, cardiac surgeon Yoshiki Sawa, is going to receive fragments of the heart tissue from iPS cells, consisting of 100 million myocardiocytes (cardiac muscle cells).
Preliminary experimental studies have shown that the implantation of cardiac tissue flaps, derived from iPS cells improves the contractile function of the heart.
In Ukraine, the Institute of Cell Therapy together with the Amosov National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery and the Shalimov National Institute of Surgery and Transplantology are developing new methods of treatment of cardiovascular diseases with the use of stem cells of perinatal tissues (placenta, umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord). To date, with the help of stem cells, the scientists of the Institute of Cell Therapy succeeded to save an ATO fighter from heart transplantation, who suffered from cardiomyopathy, as well as to achieve an excellent therapeutic effect in one more patient with a severe degree of heart failure.