A project for the commission of scientific and technological experiments and research, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
The Project for Realization of Regenerative Medicine (Second Phase)

Program Director Shinichi Kohsaka

Toward realization of regenerative medicine through human stem cell research

The "Project for Realization of Regenerative Medicine", a project for the commission of scientific and technological experiments and research funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, was initiated in the year 2003 based on a ten-year plan (the first phase ended in the year 2007 ). It is designed to do pioneering research for developing stem cell technologies necessary for and applicable to regenerative medicine based on cell and tissue transplantation, which may bring about a radical change in medicine(in this project "realization" means development of research to the preclinical stage just before proceeding to a clinical stage). In the second phase (from the year 2008 to the year 2012 ), the project is featured as a life science R&D program to address social needs. Based on the outcomes of its first phase and taking into account the general situation of research related to regenerative medicine, we are especially promoting "research using human stem cells" and related R&D, the outcomes of which will directly contribute to the benefits of the public. In November 2007, a research team led by Shinya Yamanaka(Kyoto University) generated human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and this encouraged us to take next steps, making new approaches to realization of regenerative medicine using these human cells, by our all-Japan research system including "projects for the development of human iPS cell research centers".

Outline of the project

Program Officer Chihiro Akazawa Professor, Graduate School of Health Care Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
Program Officer Masao Umegaki Lecturer, Medical Center for Translational Research, Osaka University Hospital

Outline of the project

Research achievements

Kyoto University integrated hub for iPS cell research
(Kyoto University)

We have obtained desired research results that may solve the problem of tumorigenesis of iPS cells. Specifically, L-Myc*1 induced iPS cells more efficiently than c-Myc*1 did, and virtually no tumorigenesis was identified in experiments using chimeric mice. The pluripotency of iPS cells produced using L-Myc was similar to that of iPS cells produced using c-Myc. We estimate that L-Myc is will be useful in the clinical application of iPS cells.

Human stem cell research center aimed for the realization of regenerative medicine
(Keio University)

We have revealed that the type of somatic cells, from which iPS cells are created, significantly affects the safety following differentiation induction and transplantation. We have also demonstrated that selected "reliable" clones of iPS cells are effective for the treatment of mice with injured spinal cord. Currently, we have been involved in a study of neural stem cells derived from human iPS cells to examine their therapeutic effects on mice with injured spinal cord.

Development of next generation stem cell-based gene/cell therapy
(The University of Tokyo)

1) With the aim of providing a secure and reliable technology in clinical practice, we have developed a method to generate, culture, and maintain human iPS cells in a serum- and feeder cell-free medium.*2
2) To develop a new cell transplant therapy using iPS cells, we have established a method for inducing the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells and islet cells.
3) We have demonstrated that platelets are efficiently produced from human iPS cells, and that human iPS cells allow the formation of blood clots in vivo.

Technology development and support program for human pluripotent stem cell research at RIKEN
(RIKEN)

- We identified the cause of cell death that occurs in suspension culture of human pluripotent stem cells.
- We generated retinitis pigmentosa-specific iPS cells.
- We have succeeded in inducing cerebellar Purkinje cells*3 from mouse ES cells selectively, and demonstrated that these cells were engrafted after transplanted to the fetal cerebellum.

*1 c-Myc, L-Myc : Types of a gene that combines with nuclear DNA to function
*2 Serum- and feeder cell-free medium : A xenogeneic free environment where any component of non-human origin is not contained.
*3 Cerebellar Purkinje cell : A type of neuro cell in the cerebellum

List of research subjects

Chief researcher Representative research institutions Research themes
Projects for the development of human iPS cell research centers
Shinya Yamanaka Kyoto University Kyoto University integrated hub for iPS cell research
Hideyuki Okano Keio University Human stem cell research center aimed for the realization of regenerative medicine
Hiromitsu Nakauchi The University of Tokyo Development of next generation stem cell-based gene/cell therapy
Yoshiki Sasai RIKEN Technology development and support program for human pluripotent stem cell research at RIKEN
Individual research projects : The research field for establishment of stem cell bank
Hiroshi Hara Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation Establishment of cord blood stem cell bank
Individual research projects : The research field for technical development of stem cell manipulation
Kenzaburo Tani Kyushu University Development of secure and efficient methods for hematopoietic stem cells differentiation using human iPS and ES cells
Gohshi Shiota Tottori University Development of a differentiation induction technology for the application of human mesenchymal stem cells as functional hepatic cells to transplantation medicine, using low-molecular compounds and cell sheets
Individual research projects : The research field for development of stem cell therapy
Shunsuke Yuba National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Development of transplantation therapy for severe congenital bone metabolic disorder using genetically-modified mesenchymal stem cells
Shin-ichi Takeda National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) Development of stem cell transplantation therapy for muscular dystrophy
Toyoaki Murohara Nagoya University Developmental research in revascularization using vascular precursor cells derived from iPS cells

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  • MEXT
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