First heart surgery performed using iPS cells
NHK -- Jan 28
A Japanese group of researchers says it has conducted heart surgery using sheets of heart muscle cells made from iPS cells.

Induced pluripotent stem cells are created from reprogrammed human cells and can develop into various kinds of body tissue.

The Osaka University team, led by Professor Yoshiki Sawa, aims to establish a treatment for patients with serious heart disease by restoring the organ's function. The team's surgery involves putting sheets of heart muscle cells derived from iPS in a patient's heart.

At a news conference on Monday, the team announced that they successfully performed the world's first surgery of its kind this month.

They said the patient had been suffering from ischemic cardiomyopathy and it was difficult for the patient to recover with treatments through internal medicine using drugs.

The latest surgery was done as a clinical trial to develop a new treatment method. The group will verify the method's safety and effectiveness over one year and plans to conduct operations on nine other patients over a three-year period.

Professor Sawa said he hopes the technique will save as many patients as possible. He said he hopes the method will be used for patients who have no options with internal medicine and before they need an artificial heart or a heart transplant.

News source: NHK
Feb 20
Japanese authorities confirmed 705 cases of the new coronavirus as of 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday. (NHK)
Feb 20
With the Japanese government announcing newly discovered cases of coronavirus infection within the country several times this month, the whole country is on edge regarding the disease. (
Feb 20
Authorities in some prefectures where people are confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus are providing multilingual information services for foreigners visiting or living in Japan. (NHK)
Feb 20
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, has announced plans to send a probe to one of Mars' moons and bring back samples from its surface. (NHK)
Feb 20
Multinational companies are avoiding travel to and from Japan over fears the country could be the next hot spot in the coronavirus outbreak. (Nikkei)
Feb 19
A man in his 60s confirmed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus drove a total of 10 Kyodo News staff members in a hired vehicle from late January to early February, the news service said Tuesday, confirming that it had notified member organizations. (Japan Times)
Feb 19
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill designed to help companies develop secure 5G mobile networks and drone technologies amid growing alarm among policymakers about the increasing influence of Chinese technology. (Japan Times)
Feb 19
Kanagawa Prefectural Police believe a high school girl committed suicide by leaping in front of a train on Tuesday morning, an incident that she possbily broadcast on social media, reports NHK (Feb. 18). (
Feb 18
As Japan ramps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak, one of the largest sporting events in the nation will be curtailed, with participation in the Tokyo Marathon limited to elite runners and wheelchair competitors, organizers said Monday. (Japan Times)
Feb 17
As Japan grapples with the expanding new coronavirus outbreak, six more people — five in Tokyo and another in Aichi Prefecture — tested positive Sunday for the deadly virus, local authorities said. (Japan Times)