Riken will establish a center for developing therapeutic drugs using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for severe neurological diseases. The government-backed research institute will team up with the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University (CiRA) to open the center in Kyoto in April 2018.
Expectations for applying iPS cells to the development of therapeutic drugs are growing along with those for regenerative medicine. Riken, a leading research center worldwide, and CiRA aim to develop major new drugs in Japan to treat Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
During the process of developing iPS drugs, cells and tissues damaged by disease are reproduced from patients’ own iPS cells and added to possible substances for new drugs. The substances which are found to be effective in improving symptoms will become promising candidates for new drugs.
The new facility will be located in Seika, southern Kyoto. The central government and the Kyoto prefectural government will contribute a total of 300 million yen to the project, with Riken also paying for a portion of it.
Just under 10 researchers will initially work at the Kyoto center and the number will be increased to 15 in 2019 or afterward. Riken will also consider conducing joint research with private enterprises.