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A committee in Japan has given a provisional go-ahead for using reprogrammed stem cells to treat damaged corneas, Nature News reports. It adds, though, that researchers are awaiting the final word to begin.

In particular, Nature News says Osaka University's Kohji Nishida and his colleagues plan to treat patients with damaged corneas with tissue generated using induced pluripotent stem cells by laying that thin layer of tissue over their corneas. In animal studies, Nature News notes, that has lead to the restoration of vision.

If they receive final approval from the health ministry, Nishida and his colleagues will begin by treating four patients with corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency to assess the safety and efficacy of the treatment, the Japan Times adds, noting they are hoping to start treatments in May or June.

"It's very important to make the therapy widely available," Nishida tells the Japan Times. "We aim to offer a safe treatment to patients as soon as possible."