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Principal Investigators

Dept. of Life Science Frontiers 
Yoshiya Kawaguchi (Professor)

Yoshiya Kawaguchi Photo
Yoshiya Kawaguchi M.D., Ph.D.
Research Overview

The two main strands in the medical application of iPS cells involve the creation of functioning cells for: (1) use as transplant material and (2) use as a tool in drug development. Both purposes require an understanding of the mechanism of human organogenesis. In Europe and North America, human fetal tissue is used for research purposes, but given the ethical issues and the limitations of practical experimental methods, human iPS cells offer a useful tool for developmental research.

In the process of organogenesis, cell differentiation proceeds in parallel with the alteration of the three-dimensional tissue structure. During this dynamic structural realignment, cells are thought to communicate with each other as they undergo qualitative change. In other words, individual cell is regulated by "local rules" within the cell community and acquires its own characteristics and builds up its unique tissue.

It has also been found that cell behavior in the regeneration of mature organs and in aging and carcinogenesis has aspects in common with cell behavior in the developmental process. The insights from developmental research using iPS cells have the potential to create new therapeutic technologies for diseases.

Using iPS cells as a powerful tool, we seek to identify the 'local rules' of the cell community and thereby reach a full understanding of the organogenesis mechanism of the digestive tract, the pancreas, liver, lung and other endodermal organs.

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