IJCH 2015 Vol.1(1): 39-43 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2015.1.1.007

Benefits and Drawbacks of Regenerative Medicine in Japan

Miyako Takagi
Abstract—Aiming at further development of the regenerative medicine in Japan, ethical investigation in this field was performed. Embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be induced to differentiate into a wide range of tissues that could be used for therapeutic applications in regenerative medicine. To obtain ES cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed. In contrast, the creation of iPS cells which were first generated in 2006 does not involve the use or destruction of human embryo. In September 2014, a team in RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) transplanted retinal cells produced from iPS cells into the eyes of a woman suffering from macular degeneration. Other trials of iPS cell-based treatments plan to start testing for Parkinson’s disease and serious heart failure. On the other hand, the case of stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells, which is said to be the world’s three big cases of scientific misconduct over the last 50 years, happened in RIKEN/CDB. A female scientist announced that she discovered a new method for creating pluripotent stem cells in mice in January 2014, however it was faked data. As a result, RIKEN/CDB ceased to be a research center in August 2014, and the reputation of Japan’s scientific research community was damaged. An important lesson from this case is the necessity of appropriate ethical training on good scientific practices.

Index Terms—Clinical trial, iPS cells, regenerative medicine, scientific misconduct.

Miyako Takagi is with the University Research Center, Nihon University, 4-8-24, Kudan-minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-8275, Japan (e-mail: takagi.miyako@ nihon-u.ac.jp).

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Cite: Miyako Takagi, "Benefits and Drawbacks of Regenerative Medicine in Japan," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 39-43, 2015.

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