One of the top Japanese universities, Kyoto University, teams with leading drugmaker to use iPS cells to treat diseases
According to The Asahi Shimbun today, Kyoto University’s iPS research center and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. are partnering to develop clinical applications of induced pluripotent stem cells to treat patients of diabetes and other diseases, it was announced on 15 Dec.
The project, targeting cancer, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, neuro-degenerative disorders and intractable muscular diseases, aims for clinical applications in five years, three years at the earliest.
Shinya Yamanaka, director of the university’s Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and a Nobel laureate for his contribution to iPS cell research, said he hopes the tie-up will produce quick results.
“The iPS technology is now 10 years old since iPS cells were completed in 2005,” he said at a news conference in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. “We are committed to helping patients and their relatives as soon as we can.”
Takeda will fund 20 billion yen (US$166 million) over a 10-year period, with 30 researchers on each side joining the program.
Six researchers from the university’s centre will head each program at Takeda’s Shonan Research Centre in Fujisawa.
It is aimed at developing treatment for diabetes patients with the use of pancreatic cells made from iPS cells and a drug derived from iPS cells made from cells taken from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients to treat the debilitating disease.
The program is also designed to formulate new drugs, drawing on candidate substances in Takeda's possession.
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