Uehiro Research Div. for iPS Cell Ethics
Yoshimi Yashiro (Associate Professor)
Yoshimi Yashiro Ph.D.
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Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have in general been introduced as a technology which can overcome the ethical issues surrounding ES cells.
Although ES cells, just as in the case of iPS cells, are able to develop into any type of cell that makes up our bodies, stringent limitations have been imposed on their research because it is considered that 'exploiting what is regarded as the very beginning of life may be wrong' as they are generated by using embryos of the earliest stage of ontogenetic development.
On the other hand, human iPS cells are considered to have no such problem as they use cells of a human being who already exists and is living. Nevertheless, with the use of iPS cells for regenerative medicine becoming a reality, various issues are foreseen. In addition to the issues common to all advanced medicine, including the protection of human subjects; whether patients who participate in clinical studies carried out to ensure safety and efficacy receive sufficient explanation in advance concerning the clinical study, understand the significance, objectives and methods of the study, and give their consent on a voluntary basis, issues specific to iPS cells are becoming apparent that address 'the sanctity of life ', concerning the pros and cons of generating germ cells from iPS cells, or the production of animal-human hybrid embryos (chimeras) aimed at research on the construction of three-dimensional organs. In order to seek solutions for these issues, we will deepen various philosophical discussions, and study from a multifaceted perspective the most advanced knowledge concerning stem cell biology and the status of life sciences introduced in science fiction comics and other popular culture, and continue to think about 'the sanctity of life', while cooperating with society by sharing information through the media.