All vertebrates have what are called "neural crest cells," which play an important role in growth and development. Because neural crest cells have the ability to migrate to different locations of the body and change from one cell type to another (also known as differentiation), their use in cell transplantation therapy holds a lot of promise. I am a member of a team working on the Neural Crest Cell Project 1 at T-CiRA, where we are using this technology to create neural crest cells from iPS cells, a technique that was established by our researcher. Our goal is to use these to produce enteric neurons, nerve cells which make up the nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract, in order to develop new drugs for cell therapy treatment for people with congenital intestinal diseases.
Having applied for the research center in-house project TEC, for which researchers propose their own themes and can obtain a budget to carry out the research, Teruyoshi succeeded in inducing differentiation of neural crest cells, based on research findings by CiRA's Dr. Makoto Ikeya. Currently, as part of the Neural Crest Cell project in T-CiRA, he is working on the development of iPS-cell derived neural crest cells in order to develop a new form of cell therapy treatment.
Yoshiaki is a Takeda research team leader working together with Dr. Shin Kaneko of CiRA to develop new immunotherapy using iPS cell-derived T cells. Currently, he is focusing on iPS cell-derived CAR T-cell therapy for blood cancer patients, with the aim of holding clinical trials in the near future.