- Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that differentiate and then proliferate in various organs
- High temperature superconductive wire to be used in electric power transmission
- Counteracting a flu pandemic crisis
- Fourth generation optical disc to follow Blu-ray discs
- Generating ultra-thin films at the molecular level
- Fundamental regenerative medicine technology: Generating cell sheets
- Discovery and clinical application of the gene responsible for lung cancer
- Clarifying the function of substances that recognize pathogens and activate the immunity system
- Transparent semiconductor from common materials
- Finding a new family of high temperature superconducting materials
- Development of highly functional and high performance light-emitting element originating in blue
- Organic synthesis method without use of organic solvents
- Plastic optical fiber that allows High-speed, large-capacity communication
- Enabling extra-large capacity hard disks
Akira Innate Immunity Project
Shizuo Akira (Director, Osaka University)
Clarification of the role of TLR proteins and their signaling mechanisms
Developing medicine to treat cancer, pollen allergies, atopy, etc.
With regard to TLRs (toll-like receptors) that sense invading pathogens and cause host defenses in the immunological system that humans innately possess (innate immunity), questions as to the TLR-depending recognition of the pathogen and the signal transduction of the immune responses have been tackled. TLRs have been found to activate not only innate immunity but also the mechanism that prevents the reentry of previously infected pathogens (acquired immunity).
Impact of Research Achievements
■ Research and development on drugs that target the natural immune system are now underway.
Some drugs to treat herpes and other infections have been put into practical use.
R&D and clinical trials on drugs for cancer, asthma/allergies and immunostimulants have been started by bio-venture companies in Europe and the US. For example, clinical trials regarding immunity-enhancing effects on solid tumors are underway at Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
■ Director Akira was chosen two years in a row as the hottest scientist whose articles were most frequently cited in the world in a survey conducted by Thomson Scientific.