Advances in corneal regenerative medicine with iPS cells

Shin Hatou, Shigeto Shimmura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The cornea is a pioneering area of regenerative medicine, and Japanese researchers have led the world in this field. In Japan, 3 different epithelial sheet regenerative medicine products have been approved for corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency, and the first-in-human studies of cultured corneal endothelial cell suspension transplants, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell)-derived corneal epithelial sheet transplants, and iPS cell-derived corneal endothelial substitute cell transplants were all conducted and reported globally for the first time by Japanese researchers. In the field of corneal epithelial regenerative medicine, Pellegrini et al. (Lancet 349:990–3, 1997) performed the first in-human transplant of autologous cultured corneal epithelial sheets. More than 20 years later, autologous cultivated corneal epithelium and autologous cultivated oral mucosal epithelium products were launched in Japan. In addition, clinical studies of iPS cell-derived corneal epithelial cell sheet transplant have begun, which may solve the issues with conventional autologous epithelial sheets. In corneal endothelium regenerative medicine, a clinical study of transplant of allogenic cultured corneal endothelial cell suspension for bullous keratopathy was reported, in which corneal endothelial cells derived from donor corneas were grown in culture and then injected into the anterior chamber with a ROCK inhibitor (Kinoshita et al. in N Engl J Med 378:995–1003, 2018). Our research group is also developing iPS-cell-derived corneal endothelium-like cells, termed corneal endothelial cell substitute from iPS cells (CECSi cells), and we are conducting a clinical study to treat bullous keratopathy with these cells (Hatou et al. in Stem Cell Res 55:102497, 2021). This review describes the progress and challenges of corneal epithelial and endothelial regenerative medicine and the promising future of corneal regenerative medicine with iPS cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-545
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 09-2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology


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