Dept. of Cell Growth and Differentiation
Junya Toguchida (Professor)
Junya Toguchida M.D., Ph.D.
The locomotor system is the collective term for the organs with the function of supporting and moving the body, which include bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, and skeletal muscle. Weakening or loss of their function results in serious impairment of everyday activities. We are seeking to develop new therapies for diseases affecting the locomotor organs through application of iPS cell technology. Our approach is to induce iPS cells to differentiate into the mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) which are the progenitors of the cells that constitute the locomotor organs. MSCs have the additional ability to develop into the source cells of sarcoma, a malignant tumor that arises in mesenchymal tissue. We are engaged in three themes of research using MSCs: 1) inducing MSCs to differentiate into bone, cartilage, ligament, and other cells for application in regenerative medicine; 2) generating iPS cells from the tissue of patients with hereditary locomotor organ diseases to elucidate the pathological mechanisms and develop therapeutic drugs; and 3) using MSCs to grow human tumors in vitro in order to elucidate the mechanism of tumorigenesis and obtain data leading to the development of therapeutic drugs. As the content of these three projects is to some extent interconnected, we use the findings of each project as feedback to advance the other two. This research is undertaken jointly with researchers in my lab at the Kyoto University Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences.