Hideyuki Okano received M.D. in Physiology from Keio University in 1983. After he obtained Ph.D. degree on Molecular Biology of Myelin-related genes and myelin deficient mutant mice from Keio University in 1988, he held post-doctoral position at Dr. Craig Montell’s Lab in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has appointed full professors at Tsukuba University School of Medicine in 1994, Osaka University School of Medicine in 1997, and returned to Keio University Medical School in 2001 as a full professor of Physiology. Since 2007 to date, he has been a Dean of Keio University Graduate School of Medicine or a Dean of Keio University School of Medicine. He has been conducting basic research in the field of regenerative medicine including, neural stem cells and iPS cells, spinal cord injury, developmental genetics and RNA binding proteins.
‘Reprogrammed’ stem cells to treat spinal-cord injuries for the first time
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating injury, resulting in permanent neurological impairment and attendant social and economic losses. In our previous preclinical studies, we showed transplantation of neural stem progenitor cells (NS/PCs) can result in successful functional recovery. We found that long-term restoration of motor function was induced without tumorigenicity, by selecting suitable hiPSCs-lines, when NS/PCs-derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) were transplanted into mouse or non-human primate SCI models. Based on these findings, we are establishing production and selection method of clinical grade NS/PCs stocks-derived from human iPSC stocks generated from HLA-homozygous super-donors by CiRA. In this clinical trial, SCI patients with ASIA impairment scale A are the target subjects for our clinical study, and 2 × 106 hiPSC-NS/PCs will be transplanted at 14–28 days after injury. The patients will be followed-up for one year, undergoing neurological and imaging evaluations and rehabilitation.