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Eye on iPS

A Japanese woman has been the first to receive tissue derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, Nature News reports.

Riken Center for Developmental Biology ophthalmologist Masayo Takahashi reprogrammed skin cells from the patient into induced pluripotent stem cells and then developed the iPS cells into retinal pigment epithelium cells. Her colleagues, lead by Yasuo Kurimoto at Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, then implanted those retinal pigment epithelium cells into the woman, who has age-related macular degeneration.

While Nature notes that the procedure likely won't restore the woman's vision, researchers will be examining whether the procedure — which the Riken team had tested in animals and for which it recently received human trial clearance — prevents further deterioration and if it leads to any side effects like an immune reaction or cancerous growth.

"We've taken a momentous first step toward regenerative medicine using iPS cells," Takahashi says in a statement, according to Nature News. "With this as a starting point, I definitely want to bring [iPS cell-based regenerative medicine] to as many people as possible."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.