JST Basic Research Programs
Yamanaka iPS Cell Project

Research Director Shinya Yamanaka

Development of human iPS cell technology for a global standard and its practical application

We have succeeded in the generation of iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells that are analogous to mouse ES cells by transducing four transcription factors (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc) into mouse fibroblasts with retroviral vectors. We have also created iPS cells that are similar to human ES cells by transducing the same four factors into human skin fibroblasts.
The conduct of human ES cell research demands great caution on the ethical issue because it involves the destruction of embryos – the bud of life. In addition, you have to pay appropriate attention to immune rejection to the transplant. On the other hand, there is no such concern in conducting research with human iPS cells, and they are expected to serve as a valuable resource in cell transplantation. Human iPS cells may also be applicable to a wide range of fields including drug safety assessment. There are a number of patients suffering from genetic disorders or intractable diseases of unknown causes. With the aim of promoting in vitro pathological studies, we have become involved in creating disease-specific iPS cells using cells obtained from patients and differentiate them into tissues that are not available at present. In addition, we have started a drug discovery project with the use of disease-specific iPS cells, hoping that the development of new therapeutic methods and drugs will help patients with intractable diseases.
Despite a variety of potential application areas for iPS cell technology, there are still many problems to be resolved before it is applied in clinical settings. This project has been conducting the following studies in collaboration with Kyoto University, Shiga University of Medical Science, Gifu University, and Jichi Medical University :
- Examination of the safety of iPS cells
- Analysis of pathological mechanism of intractable diseases using patient-derived iPS cells
- Exploration of drugs using human disease-specific iPS cells

Sites for project research

We have established a laboratory equipped with clean rooms in Kyoto Research Park to promote research in cooperation with the following universities.

Kyoto Research Park

Collaborators/Contract researchers

Name Title / Affiliation
Shinya Yamanaka Professor, Kyoto University
Ryuzo Torii Professor, Shiga University of Medical Science
Research subjects : Creation of monkey iPS cells, safety assessment using monkey model systems.
Takahiro Kunisada Professor, Gifu University
Research subjects : Induction of human iPS cells from pulpa denta stem cells with fewer factors.
Yutaka Hanazono Professor, Jichi Medical University
Research subjects : Safety assessment of human iPS cells using large animals systems.


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  • MEXT
  • Japan Science and Technology Agency
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