Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) technology can create pluripotent stem cells from the normal adult cells of a patient. Pluripotent stem cells are capable of differentiating into many specialized primary cell types needed for research, such as cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, neurons, and muscle cells.
With access to differentiated cells from patients with the condition of interest, or healthy human cells engineered to contain disease-specific genetics, researchers may obtain greater predictive accuracy than is possible with the in vitro models used currently in pharmaceutical research and preclinical studies.
Sigma says the licensed technology will enable it to develop new tools for drug discovery and preclinical research, including iPSCs, iPSC-derived primary cells, assays, custom cell lines, and ADME/Tox services.
“Researchers currently use primary cells derived from techniques that lack consistency and the ability to genetically engineer cells,” said David Smoller, Ph.D., Sigma-Aldrich CSO. “Using the Kyoto IPSC technology and our zinc finger protein technologies, we hope to generate stable, defined sets of cells and subsequently derived tissues whose predictive power will allow us to develop a new paradigm in assay development.”
"The pace of progress in iPS cell research has been breathtaking thanks to many scientists' strenuous efforts," said Shinya Yamanaka, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University. "With the non-exclusive license agreement that has been formed by Sigma-Aldrich, a global corporation in the life science field, and iPS Academia Japan, I expect that this move will further accelerate research and development using iPS cell technologies not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world."
Adapted from the Sigma Life Science announcement.