IFLMS to produce and distribute human ES cells for clinical use (30 June 2017)

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On 30 June, the Kyoto University Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences (IFLMS) announced that its plan to establish human embryonic stem (ES) cell lines, and produce ES cell stocks has been approved by Japan's science ministry MEXT and health ministry. The initiative was confirmed to be in compliance with both ministries' guidelines, making IFLMS the first Japanese institute to receive government approval for producing human ES cells for clinical use.

ES cells, similar to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, have the potential to differentiate into a variety of cell types, making them useful for regenerative therapy, etiological and pathogenic studies, drug discovery, and numerous other possible applications. ES cells are already in clinical trials abroad, while iPS cells are undergoing clinical studies in Japan.

IFLMS' plan is to make human ES cells from unused fertilized eggs, obtained with consent from patients receiving infertility treatment at a local hospital. The production site will be the Institute's newly established Cell Processing Facility (CPF), which received certification 24 January as a "clinical-use cell-culture facility" to manufacture specified cell products as per the Act to Ensure the Safety of Regenerative Medicine.

IFLMS' ES cell stocks will be made available to medical institutions, including the National Center for Child Health and Development, for use in clinical research.

IFLMS Associate Professor Hirofumi Suemori speaking to reporters

CPF's cell storage chamber

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