Researchers at Keio University in Tokyo have launched the world's first clinical study to treat spinal cord injuries with induced pluripotency cells (iPS), the institution reported Friday.

The team participating in the project successfully transplanted the cells in the first patient last December, who is progressing favorably, the center said in a statement.

Those responsible for the project did not offer details about the gender, age or the cause of the injuries of the transplanted patient, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

The project received the green light from the Japanese Health Ministry in 2019, but the search for candidates was suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which delayed the roadmap.

Four patients are expected to receive an iPS cell transplant throughout the clinical trial to treat spinal cord injuries that caused them to lose motor and sensory function two to four weeks earlier as a result of sports or traffic accidents.