IPS cells: the Japanese government launches a programme to develop new medications

Publié le : 17 May 2013

 With a budget of 800 million yen per year in 2012 and 2013 (around €6.2 million), the Japanese government has launched a nationwide project aimed at "developing treatments for 50 rare diseases using iPS cells." This project will involve research teams, centralised bodies of experts and private sector players in the pharmaceutical industry. In concrete terms, it is aimed at diseases said to be "untreatable" which are little known and difficult to treat.

So far, research using animal models such as mice "has not enabled us to understand and treat these diseases." But iPS cells offer the advantage of "making up for the low number of patients and the difficulty of finding suitable models for studying these diseases." In effect, these cells are obtained from an ill patient and "they can be differentiated into forming nerve tissue or muscle tissue manifesting the symptoms and behaviour of the tissues of ill patients." The different substances will thus be tested directly on the diseased cells "without putting the life of the patient in danger."

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