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June 02, 2022

CiRA initiates new research projects sponsored by Altos Labs

The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University is pleased to announce that it has signed a sponsored research agreement with Altos Labs, Inc. of the United States (Altos) to start several new research projects on cellular rejuvenation programming using iPS cell-related technologies.

Altos is a life science company with the goal of restoring cell health and resilience and reversing disease, injury, and cellular dysfunction that accrues throughout life. CiRA Professor/Director Emeritus Shinya Yamanaka serves as a senior scientific advisor to Altos without remuneration.

The research projects aim to elucidate the aging process of cells and organs using iPS cell and other technologies and is expected to contribute to the development of new treatments. Under the supervision by Yamanaka, the research projects will be carried out by four CiRA researchers - Associate Professor Knut Woltjen, Associate Professor Yoshinori Yoshida, Associate Professor Kazutoshi Takahashi and Junior Associate Professor Taro Toyoda.

  • Woltjen's project is titled Manipulation of aging through refined epigenetic reprogramming. The study will employ a multi-omics approach to study the unique epigenetic changes in rapidly aging cells of the thymus and placenta. The study aims to enable reprogramming systems that provide improved tissue function, efficient self-healing, and safe regenerative medicine applications.

  • Yoshida's project is titled Targeting the hallmarks of aging for systemic cardiac rejuvenation by using human iPS cells. The study aims to rejuvenate human cardiac tissue healthily, thereby ensuring its physiological integrity and maintenance of its fitness and health span. Researchers will identify and validate key factors in cardiac rejuvenation.

  • Takahashi's project is titled Conversion of human fibroblast cells to a younger fate by defined factors. The study will capture and analyze the rejuvenation phenomenon that occurs during reprogramming of human cells toward a pluripotent state. Instead of comparing young and aged somatic cells, the study will adopt a new multi-omics approach for comparing normal somatic cells and rejuvenated cells.

  • Toyoda's project is titled Development of a selective cell rejuvenation tool using epigenetic aging models in iPS cell-derived islet cells. The project will seek to develop improved partial reprogramming tools that would decrease the risk of tumorigenic cell rejuvenation and specify rejuvenating factors.

Altos sponsors the research projects over five years starting May 1, 2022, and provides significant funding to CiRA as research grants to be used for equipment, human resources and various research services.

"Research on partial reprogramming for cellular rejuvenation is being conducted around the world. With the funding awarded by Altos Labs, CiRA will enter this field to elucidate the mechanism of cellular rejuvenation. This project will enable us to understand mechanisms of cellular reprogramming and to contribute to development of new disease treatments," says Yamanaka.

For more information, please visit the Altos Labs website (

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