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December 16, 2014

Masayo Takahashi featured on NHK's Science View

On Tuesday evening Masayo Takahashi from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan will appear on the NHK program Science View to talk about her recent effort treating a case of macular degeneration by transplanting retinal tissue grown from human IPS cells. The operation was the first of its kind, and both doctors and scientists around the world are excited about the potential for IPS-cell grown transplants to revolutionize the field and give hope to people suffering from a variety of degenerative diseases.

In the interview, Takahashi expressed her hopes in this regard, but warned that people expecting these advances to come quickly might be disappointed. While Takahashi and her team have made huge strides over just a seven-year period, the high costs and extended time needed for growing the cells — about 9 months — are hurdles that still need to be overcome. As an ophthalmologist, Takahashi is most concerned with helping people with eye diseases, and is hoping to spearhead a national Eye Institute in Japan that will have both a hospital and rehabilitation clinic, and also be devoted to experimental and clinical research, including further advancements in IPS-cell transplants. The program can be viewed live online through the NHK World website at 11:30 pm Japan time (2:30 pm UTC).