What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a general term of medical treatment that uses transplanted cells (such as iPS cells) and other materials to renew or repair cells or tissues that have been damaged by illness or injury. Currently, research and clinical trials of regenerative medicine products using iPS cells are being conducted worldwide.
What are iPS cells?
iPS cell is short for “induced pluripotent stem cell”. They can be generated by introducing certain factors into somatic cells such as skin cells, urine cells, teeth or blood cells, and their main feature is the ability to mature into various types of adult cells (this ability is known as “pluripotency”),such as heart cells, neurons, and liver cells. Generally, they are called “almighty cells” and are currently being applied to a variety of regenerative medicine research and clinical trials. In 2006, Professor Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University established the world’s first mouse iPS cells, and the following year, in 2007, he succeeded in establishing the world’s first human iPS cells. Professor Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for his achievements.
What can I do with Personal iPS?
Personal iPS is a service that generates iPS cells from your own teeth (a.g. lost baby teeth) or urine and stores them for future use as a personalised therapy. Personal iPS can be used to prepare for future “just in case” events such as illness or injury where treatment with your own cells might be useful. Transplanting one’s own cells into oneself is called an autologous cell transplant. The greatest advantage is that immune rejection of the transplanted iPS cells does not occur, and there is no need to take immunosuppressive medication. Another advantage is that the preparation time for treatment can be shortened if Personal iPS cells are produced and stored in advance.
Couldn’t we use other people’s cells for treatment?
Treatment using another person’s cells is known as allogeneic cell transplantation. Because of the theoretical possibility of mass production, regenerative medicine may be provided at a relatively low cost. However, with allogeneic cell transplantation, rejection of the transplanted cells by the immune system is inevitable, and the patient must receive immunosuppressive medication continuously. On the other hand, autologous cell transplantation (e.g. using Personal iPS cells) does not cause rejection and does not require immunosuppressive medication.
Is there any pain or risk when making iPS cells?
Personal iPS generates iPS cells from unneeded teeth (dental pulp cells found inside teeth) or urine; no skin biopsy, blood or tissue sampling are required, and calls can be stored indefinitely for future use as possible therapies.
How many times can stored iPS cells be used for treatment?
Somatic cells (mature adult cells), such as skin, blood, dental pulp cells, and umbilical cord blood, usually have limited capacity to create new cells that could be used as part of a treatment; however, iPS cells have extremely high proliferative capacity, and Personal iPS customers can receive treatment as often as they need.
Where are iPS cells stored?
The produced iPS cells will be stored in our secure, 24/7 monitored cell storage facilities both in Japan and in the United States, to reassure our customers that their iPS cells will be safe, even if an unforeseen natural event were to occur.
Are there any age restrictions for people who use Personal iPS?
There is no age restriction for people who use Personal iPS cells, but in general, the older you get, the more likely it is that abnormal mutations may occur; therfore we recommend generating your iPS cells as young as possible. It has also been reported that the older the cells are, the lower the efficiency of iPS cell production.
When can iPS cells be generated?
In general, the older you get, the more likely it is that abnormal mutations may occur, thus we recommend generating your iPS cells as young as possible. Another major advantage of having IPS cells created in advance is that it shortens the preparation time to manufacture any personalised cell therapy and allows future treatments to begin more promptly.
What diseases can Personal iPS cells be used for?
R&D of regenerative medicine using iPS cells is being promoted worldwide, and many project have already entered the clinical trial stage. For example, in Japan, clinical trials are underway for age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss and blindness; Parkinson’s disease, which causes tremors, muscle stiffness, and slow movements; and ischemic cardiomyopathy (heart disease). A list of major clinical trials and clinical studies can be found here.
When can I receive treatment using iPS cells?
Clinical trials are currently underway for a variety of diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic cardiomyopathy (heart disease), depending on the timing of the approval of these therapies. Since research and development that has not yet entered clinical trials is being actively promoted around the world, we expect that iPS cells will be used in the treatment of many diseases in the future.
What is the RNA reprogramming method? How is it different from conventional methods?
The process of producing iPS cells from cells such as skin cells or blood cells is called reprogramming. In the RNA reprogramming method, the RNAs of several transcriptional factors are introduced into cells to generate iPS cells. RNA is a substance naturally found in all cells and is rapidly degradable, thus the introduced RNA does not remain in the cell for a long period of time. In addition, since RNA cannot enter the cell nucleus where genes reside, the risk of damaging the original genes is extremely low. Because of these characteristics, the RNA reprogramming method is said to be safe and suitable for clinical application.
What is the difference between cord blood and dental pulp cells and iPS cells?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells and is widely used as a hematopoietic stem cell transplant for leukemia. It is also being tested in clinical trials for poliomyelitis. However, cord blood can only be collected at childbirth, and depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible to collect or ensure the necessary volume for treatment.
In addition, the hematopoietic stem cells in cord blood cannot be sufficiently increased with
current technologies, there is no guarantee that if it can be used more than once.
At present, dental pulp cells have not been used for treatment of any diseases, and R&D for clinical application is considerably less than that of iPS cells. In addition, compared to iPS cells, dental pulp cells have limited proliferative capacity (i.e. how many times they can divide into new cells), making them unsuitable for therapies that require mass culture.
Meanwhile, iPS cells can be easily generated from anyone, and are expected to be applied to a wide range of regenerative medicines in the future. In addition, because of their high proliferative capacity, iPS cells have the advantage of being able to be used repeatedly by mass cultivation.