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Life Innovation
Vascularized and functional human liver from an iPSC-derived organ bud transplant

  • As part of the Strategic Promotion of Innovative Research and Development program (S-Innovation), Professor TANIGUCHI Hideki and Assistant TAKEBE Takanori (Yokohama City University) have successfully created functional human liver tissues with vascular structure from human iPS cells for the first time in the world. It is expected that this will be an epoch-making regenerative medicine technology to relieve many patients as a substitute treatment for the future organ transplantation; moreover, it will drastically accelerate a study of the new pharmaceutical development for the created organs.
RIKEN team creates cancer-specific killer T cells from induced pluripotent stem cells

  • As part of the CREST Strategic Basic Research Program, Team Leader KAWAMOTO Hiroshi, Group Director KOSEKI Haruhiko, Research Scientist Raul Vizcardo (RIKEN) have succeeded for the first time in creating cancer-specific, immune cells called killer T lymphocytes from iPS cells. To create these killer cells, the team first had to reprogram T lymphocytes specialized in killing a certain type of cancer, into iPS cells. The iPS cells then generated fully active, cancer-specific T lymphocytes. These lymphocytes regenerated from iPS cells could potentially serve as cancer therapy in the future.
Discovery of New Fusion Genes Responsible for Lung Cancer: Opening Up Possibilities for New Pharmaceutical Treatment

  • Assisted by the JST Strategic Basic Research Program, Professor MANO Hiroyuki (Jichi Medical University; Tokyo University Professor by special appointment) has developed a novel functional screening system for cDNAs in clinical specimens, and has discovered the novel ROS1 and RET oncogenes in lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer deaths with an annual incidence of 1.4 millions worldwide.
  • If the ROS1 lung cancer or RET lung cancer discovered by this research can be correctly diagnosed, then specific inhibitors can be used to achieve a highly effective molecular targeted therapy for these disorders, just as with the previously discovered ALK lung cancer. This research has successfully achieved both a highly sensitive molecular diagnosis of lung cancer and a completely new pharmaceutical treatment for lung cancer in a short period of time.
Transcription factor Glis1 promotes the generation of safe iPS cells

  • A research group led by Professor YAMANAKA Shinya, director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, has discovered that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be induced very efficiently compared to the conventional method, when transcription factor Glis1, which is strongly expressed in the unfertilized egg, is used.
Topically Sprayed Fluorescent Probe for Tumor Imaging

Based on his interest in developing small molecular-based photo-functional tools for biological research, and assisted by the JST Strategic Basic Research Program, Professor URANO Yasuteru (The University of Tokyo) has made a major contribution to the detection of very tiny tumors, often overlooked during surgical or endoscopic/laparoscopic procedures.

Professor Urano’s team has developed a γ-glutamyltranspeptidase-activated fluorescent probe for rapid tumor detection; topically sprayed on any section in which the existence of tumors is suspected, it enables rapid and sensitive detection of tumors in vivo with a high tumor-to-background ratio, using fluorescence endoscopy. Cancerous microfoci as small as 1mm or less can now be accurately detected.