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December 21, 2018

About the iPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine Project

CiRA has been promoting the iPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine Project since 2013, with support by the Japanese government. In August 2015, CiRA started distributing clinical-grade iPSCs from the stock to medical and research institutes and private companies.

This week CiRA proposed Kyoto University establish a not-for-profit foundation to continue to run the project stably. CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka proposed the plan at a government panel set up by the Ministry of Culture, Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

In addition, Yamanaka told the panel that he will reinforce research on editing the HLA gene to produce iPSCs with less immune rejection and making autologous iPSCs at a much lower cost.

The MEXT panel will discuss the proposals and reach a conclusion next summer. CiRA will make a final decision on the future plan of the project based on the recommendation.

Yamanaka comments, "We expect regenerative medicine using iPS cells will become a readily available choice for some diseases in a decade or so. We believe that our mission is to stably supply high quality iPS cells for clinical use at appropriate prices for patient care. As one option, we propose to set up a new not-for-profit foundation."

(*)iPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine Project is preparing and storing multiple iPS cell lines for clinical application. Each line is made by reprogramming cells from healthy donors who are human leukocyte antigen (HLA) homozygous. The use of HLA homozygous donors expands the number of people who can receive the cells in a therapy without a severe immune reaction. This project started in April 2013. By December 2018, CiRA has manufactured and distributed clinical-grade iPS cell lines that can cover about 30 percent of the Japanese population.

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