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Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012
Kyoto researchers turn iPS cells into heart muscle cells at low cost
A team led by Kyoto University professor Norio Nakatsuji has developed a cheaper and more effective way to produce heart muscle cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
Nakatsuji's team reported Thursday that it has discovered a small molecule compound that can be used to make heart muscle cells as a replacement for cytokines, a form of protein that involves higher costs. Their findings were carried in the online edition of the U.S. science journal Cell Reports.
The team studied about 10,000 different compounds in search of an alternative to cytokines. The compound allows iPS cells to differentiate into cardiac muscle cells more efficiently, and the quality of produced myocardial cells is also more stable, according to the team's findings.
In tests using 10 strains each of iPS cells and embryonic stem cells, the new method was found to be capable of producing cardiac muscle cells that were 88 to 98 percent complete, compared with the 10 to 60 percent range under conventional methods that use cytokines, it said.
Nakatsuji said that after sawhile it is still necessary to confirm the safety to improve the quality of the cardiac muscle cells produced, "the new method will be used widely as a practical technology" to promote differentiation of iPS cells into cardiac muscle cells.
Asian disease pact
SINGAPORE — Singapore and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the development of medical technology to address diseases that afflict Asia.
The accord is aimed at encouraging Japanese firms to use Singapore as a base for research and development of medical equipment and devices.