Sanyo-Onoda City University and Ube Industries, Ltd., have agreed to begin research related to elucidation of the long-term maintenance mechanism of cultured stem cells using a multiporous membrane material. This will be their first endeavor into joint research under a comprehensive partnership. The two organizations signed a joint research agreement, as described below, on November 15, 2019.
At Ube Industries, the Hagihara Research Group in the Research & Development Division of the Chemicals Company has been studying a cell cultivation method that uses a polyimide multiporous membrane—an ultra-heat-resistant multiporous membrane that is a product made by Ube Industries—for the substrate. The research demonstrated the viability of high-efficiency mass cultivation of human and animal cells using this polyimide multiporous membrane. Ube Industries has applied for patents on a series of related inventions and is carrying out initiatives aimed at industrial uses, such as protein production for biopharmaceuticals, with a view to opening up new businesses.
One of these inventions is for an application to human mesenchymal stem cells, which are attracting attention in regenerative medicine and other fields. With usual cultivation methods, the properties of stem cells are lost as the cells age. Ube Industries discovered that these properties can be maintained in long-term cultivation from several months to over a year by using polyimide multiporous membranes. Looking ahead to uses in industry, it is important to conduct further R&D, including to elucidate the mechanism of this phenomenon and to explore applicability to various uses.
Akira Shimamoto, a professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine Research, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sanyo-Onoda City University, has been studying premature aging disorders for many years. He has reported numerous research results about the mechanism of cellular aging, including the relationship between cellular life-span and telomeres. He has now started studying the aging of stem cells at Sanyo-Onoda City University from the point of view of regenerative medicine, in light of his extensive research experience including the establishment of disease-specific iPS cell lines and expansion to model animals.
The purpose of this new collaboration is to accelerate research by analyzing the long-term maintenance of cultured human stem cells using Ube Industry’s multiporous membranes while exploiting the experience and expertise of both parties through joint research. The two organizations will also leverage the advantage of being located in neighboring cities to develop a close research partnership. Going forward, they will develop applications such as for mass production of high-quality stem cells and stable supply of stem cell-derived exosomes, the needs for which are increasing in regenerative medicine.