Shimadzu Partners with Tokyo Electron on Stem Cell-Related Project
95 Culture Media Components and Secreted Metabolites Analyzed in 17 Minutes Entering Cellular Analysis Business Using Mass Spectrometry Technology
Shimadzu Corporation today announced that it has developed a cell analysis method, which allows simultaneously analyzing 95 components contained in pluripotent stem cell culture solutions in only 17 minutes using a high-performance liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer. With this method, Shimadzu is contributing to the establishment of quality control technology for pluripotent stem cells. The development of this method indicates Shimadzu's full entry into the cell analysis business.
Shimadzu also announced that it has been participating in a Japan-UK industry-academia-government project led by Tokyo Electron (Head office: Tokyo, President: Tetsuro Higashi) aimed at developing technologies for automatic cell cultivation and inspection processes ("Smart Cell Processing Project"), in which this method is utilized.
In its medium-term management plan (for FY 2014 through FY 2016), Shimadzu has identified "life science innovation" as one of its key business strategies, and has been focusing especially on cell (iPS, ES cells, etc.) analysis business.
This method has already been commercialized and Shimadzu is now releasing the LC/MS/MS method package "Cell Culture Profiling". This product allows simultaneous analysis of a wide range of components contained in culture media, including trace components, such as vitamins and polyamines, and components contained in high concentrations, such as glucose and glutamine, using the same vial.
In regenerative medicine using pluripotent stem cells, researchers have been anticipating methods and technologies that can continuously monitor the cells to evaluate whether or not they are proliferating properly during the culture period. This newly-developed method, utilizing high-speed and high-sensitivity mass spectrometry technology, allows monitoring the changes in culture medium components associated with cell cultivation or the metabolites secreted from the cells. It is expected to be especially useful for searching for indicators important for controlling culture processes and cell quality.
Tokyo Electron has been promoting the Smart Cell Processing Project, which aims at establishing and standardizing technology for smart cell processing for cultivating high-quality stem cells, applying Tokyo Electron's existing cleaning and processing technologies. This project involves 15 partner companies having various technologies. As part of this project, Tokyo Electron established the "Open Innovation Stem Cell Technology Centre" in the UK last year, through their European subsidiary (press release on October 1). This center is involved in joint research projects with the Cell Therapy Catapult in the UK and other research institutions.
In order for regenerative medicine using pluripotent stem cells to be adopted as a common medical practice and to develop a new industry, it is important to establish process control technologies for cell culture used as a raw material, quality control technologies for ensuring the safety of the cells obtained, and automation technologies for providing the cells inexpensively. In collaboration with Tokyo Electron, Shimadzu will pursue the realization of high-quality stem cells using the analysis information obtained from Shimadzu's method package in computer-controlled automatic culture and inspection processing systems.
In Japan, the Act on the Safety of Regenerative Medicine, enacted in November 2014, makes it possible for medical institutions to outsource cell cultivation and processing. This will increase the needs from these institutions to objectively and scientifically control the cultivation processes and cell quality within the context of large-scale cell cultivation. Shimadzu's mass spectrometers, featuring the ability to quickly and simultaneously analyze multiple components in complex samples with high sensitivity, are now demonstrating their advantage in cell analysis fields. Using its mass spectrometry technologies, Shimadzu remains committed to contributing to the further progress and development of regenerative medicine.
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