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Division of Stem Cell Therapy

Hiromitsu Nakauchi, M.D., Ph.D. Director and Professor

Division of Stem Cell Therapy

Division of Stem Cell Therapy
Our challenge: Translation of our discoveries in basic research into practical medical applications

Connecting the knowledge and methodology of basic science including immunology, molecular biology, cell biology, and developmental engineering with clinical medicine, we are working on uncovering new diseases, elucidating the causes of disease, and developing therapeutic modalities. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to establishing new frontiers of stem cell therapy and to make clinical applications of stem cells a reality!

With respect to education, we aim to establish an environment where individuals can make the utmost use of their interests, personalities and abilities in order to foster potential researchers, as a human resource, with a succession of creative studies in the field of bioscience.

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Division of Stem Cell Processing

Makoto Otsu, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor

Division of Stem Cell Processing

Division of Stem Cell Processing
Pre-clinical research into stem cells and its application for curing intractable diseases
Our goal is to establish safe and efficacious gene or cellular therapy as a curative treatment for intractable blood/immune disorders by utilizing hematopoietic stem cells. To realize this goal, we must improve our understanding of hematopoietic stem cells by obtaining solid scientific evidence accumulated from basic and pre-clinical studies. In addition, we are also utilizing disease specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells as an invaluable tool for the development of new drugs or medical treatments. This was a task originally assigned to STEM CELL BANK (see "Stem Cell Bank" below ). Regarding education, we are eager to assist young investigators and physicians by offering training in technical research skills to enrich their study experience, which will hopefully translate into valuable results in the clinic.

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Division of Stem Cell Transplantation

Arinobu Tojo, M.D., Ph.D. Professor

Division of Stem Cell Transplantation

Division of Stem Cell Transplantation
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- Cell therapy for a new generation-
Since 1983, our team has performed more than 600 allogeneic transplantations using bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood as stem cell sources. Most significantly, we have engaged in more than 200 cases of cord blood transplantation since 1998, and our clinical outcomes have been recognized as among the best in the world. We believe that we can develop cellular therapies for a new generation using cord blood and that by using stem cells and immune cells in cord blood, we can solve the problems that we currently face.

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Division of Stem Cell Signaling

Toshio Kitamura, M.D., Ph.D. Professor

Division of Stem Cell Signaling

Division of Stem Cell Signaling
Aiming for analyses of various diseases and development of new therapies.
In basic science, we attempt to clarify the molecular mechanisms of life-related phenomena. In clinical science, we attempt to clarify the pathogenesis of diseases including leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), cancers, and autoimmune diseases, and to develop new therapies for them.

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Division of Stem Cell Dynamics

Beate Heissig, M.D., Ph.D.

Division of Stem Cell Dynamics

Division of Stem Cell Dynamics

We are investigating the mechanisms that regulate hematopoietic stem cell function in the hematopoietic system. Our goal is to integrate what we know about stem cells in different tissues to understand the extent to which they employ similar or different mechanisms to regulate critical functions. We are using genetic and cell biological approaches to identify candidate mediators of the self-renewal program in hematopoietic stem cells. Since cancer cells seem to copy these self-renewal mechanisms, we also evaluate the role these mechanisms play in cancer. Our goal is to provide an international plate form for vivid scientific exchange perform cutting-edge, but highly competitive research with the potential to be translated into the clinic.

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Division of Stem Cell Cellomics

Hiroshi Watarai, Ph.D. ,Project Associate Professor

Division of Stem Cell Cellomics

Division of Stem Cell Cellomics
Immune cells consists from various types of cells arise from hematopoietic stem cells. Failure in immune system leads to various types of diseases such as cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and so on. In order to investigate whether our immune system works well or not, it is important to elucidate the mechanisms and function of immune cell individuals, interaction between immune cells, recognition and immune response by the introduction of viruses or microbiome. These basic researches will pave the way for drug discovery and approach to therapy.
Newly developed innovative technologies such as multicolor flow cytometry and single cell analysis contribute to the interactive and comprehensive understanding of complex immune systems. It is also necessary to overcome the existing fractionalized scientific fields for understanding immune system deeply and take on the big challenges for scientific innovation.
Our lab is trying to nurture young scientists who will lead the original integrative research into the next generation.

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Project Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology

Sumiko Watanabe, Ph.D. Project Professor

Project Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology

Project Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology
We are working on mechanisms of pathogenesis of retinal degeneration and glioma with final goal to generate effective therapeutic strategy.
Prof. Arai, who was involved in establishing the DNAX Institute in the suburbs of San Francisco, where he spent about 15 years cloning cytokines and cytokine receptors, set up origin of our laboratory at IMSUT in 1989. He went on to make elucidation of cytokine receptor signaling and its role in blood cell differentiation and proliferation the central focus of research.
After his retirement, currently, our research focuses on general stem cell mechanisms involved in the development and regeneration of higher level structures in a constituent of the central nervous system, the eye. This research is aimed at elucidating tissue stem cell-specific mechanisms, but the underpinnings of these studies have been the knowledge and techniques of signal transduction and DNA synthesis that the cytokine research nurtured, giving us the tools to unravel the processes by which organs develop and regenerate.

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Project Division of Advanced Regenerative Medicine

Satoshi Yamazaki, Ph.D ,Project Associate Professor

Project Division of Advanced Regenerative Medicine

Project Division of Advanced Regenerative Medicine
Our goal is create basic of platform that leads to next generation medicine through stem cell biology.
Our studies focus mainly on investigation of stem cell biology using the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) as a research model. Recent identification of a variety of stem cell sources including embryonic and somatic (tissue-specific) stem cells has brought about substantial progress in the field of stem cell research. The HSC represents the first stem cell for which identity and existence were determined. Studies on HSCs have provided us with some basic concepts applying to different types of stem cells, yet many of these concepts remain unverified. It therefore is very important to continue basic studies to answer many questions left unsolved and thus to permit contributions to the field of biological research and clinical medicine. HSCs are capable of continuous supply of all lineages of blood cells to each individual for his or her entire life. Both self-renewal and multilineage differentiation potentials enable this task. One major advantage in HSC research lies in that established assay systems allow clonal analysis of each individual stem cell. Using a defined assay system, we can test capabilities of self-renewal and multilineage differentiation at single cell levels using either in vitro or in vivo assays. We believe that HSC research will eventually make great contributions to the development of safe and efficacious regenerative medicine and gene therapy.

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Stem Cell Bank

Makoto Otsu, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor

Stem Cell Bank

Stem Cell Bank
Understanding intractable diseases and developing new treatments
STEM CELL BANK was established in 2009 with the support of the Project for Realization of Regenerative Medicine as a part of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, The Institute of Medical Science. We provide induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells generated from healthy donors or patients to our collaborators. These cells can be used to establish a disease model, which may offer elucidation of the underlying pathophysiology of intractable diseases with the ultimate goal of developing new drugs or medical treatments. Research activity of STEM CELL BANK is currently conducted at Division of Stem Cell Processing. Please visit the link below for more information.

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FACS Core Laboratory

Nobukazu Watanabe, M.D., Ph.D. Project Associate Professor

FACS Core Laboratory

FACS Core Laboratory
User-oriented cell analysis/sorting services
While a flow cytometer is an essential instrument for scientists, especially in research using cells, it is sophisticated and in fact not always easy to operate. Our laboratory provides operation assistance such as cell analysis/sorting to any researchers, including non-IMSUT members. The operator is also available for consultation on matters such as the cell manipulation process for individuals who have only limited experience in using flow cytometers.

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List of Research Divisions
Division of Stem Cell Therapy
Division of Stem Cell Processing
Division of Stem Cell Transplantation
Division of Stem Cell Signaling
Division of Stem Cell Dynamics
Division of Stem Cell Cellomics
Project Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology
Project Division of Advanced Regenerative Medicine
Stem Cell Bank
FACS Core Laboratory
  • Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo
  • The University of Tokyo

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