Endowed Chair

Stem Cell and Applied Medicine

Stem cell technology and its application to regenerative medicine
  • Study of tissue development with pluripotent stem cells
  • Cell differentation and isolation technologies for regenerative medicine
  • Drug discovery using pluripotent stem cells

The study and treatment of eye development using stem cell technology

1. Pluripotent stem cells

We are developing new comprehensive technologies for stem cells, including methods for culturing, differentiating, isolating and evaluating the cells. These technologies are to be applied for regenerative medicine and related applications. We have successfully induced two-dimensional colony named SEAM (a self-formed ectodermal autonomous multi-zone) from human iPS cells by promoting the spontanious differentiation. The SEAM consists of four distinct cellular zones that followed nature eye development to produce the cornea, lens, retina, and retinal pigment epithelium [1].

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Furthermore, we have established a technique that isolates corneal epithelial cells, and succeeded in producing functional corneal epithelial tissue of high purity that can be used for regenerative medicine. We aim to prepare new corneal regeneration therapy using this SEAM method. We are refining our differentiation induction technology to produce corneal epithelial tissue of higher quality in a shorter period and extending SEAM to other ocular tissues.

2. Mesenchymal stem cells

We are also working on the development of new therapies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The culture medium of MSCs has an inhibitory effect on EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) in corneal epithelial cells. Furthermore, exosomes in the MSC culture supernatant promotes colony formation of corneal epithelial progenitor cells. We are exploring these effects of the culture supernatant in more detail to prepare novel therapeutic agents.

<Reference>

1.R. Hayashi et al. Nature 531:376–380, 2016.