National Center for Child Health and Development and DNP Commence Joint Research Targeting Drug Discovery Using Next Generation Organ Chips "Mini-Guts"
The National Center for Child Health and Development (NCCHD) and Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) have commenced joint research targeting the application of 3-Dimensional organs with attributes close to in-vivo intestines (Mini-Guts) in the area of drug discovery. DNP will utilize thin film multilayer patterning processing, developed via the application of printing technology, aiming to launch supply in 2022, and will develop a stable production process for Mini-Guts.
In a global first in January 2017, an NCCHD research group, led by Hidenori Akutsu MD, Director of the Department of Reproductive Biology of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, Akihiro Umezawa MD, and Mureo Kasahara MD, Director of the Organ Transplantation Center, successfully created an in vitro Mini-Gut from human embryonic stem (ES) cell tissues, or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. This Mini-Gut comprises functions that approximate in vivo intestines, such as the peristaltic movement seen in the transfer of digested food as a result of muscle contractions, and the absorption and secretion of substances, fueling expectations for applications in the research of intractable intestinal diseases and drug discovery.
NCCHD and DNP commenced joint research of stem cell culture systems in 2010, resulting in the discovery of Mini-Guts. The production of such Mini-Guts involves the use of DNP culture equipment, and in this latest development, the two partners have concluded a new joint research agreement, and commenced joint research targeting the commercial application of Mini-Guts.
[Joint Research Summary]
Apart from uses in regenerative medicine, where human organs and tissue functions lost through injury or sickness are recovered, it is expected to apply ES cells and iPS cells in confirming the validity and safety of new drugs. The regenerative medicine field requires an extended period of time until practical uses are achieved as it is necessary to confirm such safety issues, but in the field of drug discovery by using the iPS cells produced from the patient's tissue to verify the therapeutic effect on the patient, it becomes possible to consider a variety of usage methods, feeding into expectations of practical applications at an early stage.
The field of drug discovery has seen an expansion in cell-based experiments, but significant differences exist on the functional level between cells and in vivo organs, and as a result of the development of Mini-Guts, it is now possible to look forward to the practical application of experiments using 3D organs which approximate the qualities of in vivo organs. Initially, in aiming for practical applications in the drug discovery field, the partners will promote R&D into a range of manufacturing and delivery processes, along with the necessary automation processes utilizing the control technology for pluripotent stem cells (ES cells and iPS cells) of the NCCHD, and the thin film multilayer patterning processing developed by DNP to manufacture and deliver Mini-Guts in a stable fashion. And with the cooperation of pharmaceutical manufacturers and clinical laboratory testing companies, the partners will engage in the development of next generation organ chips that capitalize on the features of Mini-Guts and the establishment of experimental methods using the same, while aiming for commercialization in five years.
[DNP Efforts in the Life Science Field]
DNP is capitalizing on printing technology to focus on new business development in the life science field. For example, the Company marked a domestic first in 2008, when it commercialized culture equipment capable of the stable cultivation of cells in various patterns by leveraging thin film multilayer patterning technology. We also manufacture thermo-responsive culture equipment facilitating clean separation of cells cultivated on cell sheets once their temperature has been lowered, and are working towards further quality and performance enhancements. In addition, DNP is advancing the development of non-destructive cell testing technology by analyzing cell images using image processing and recognition technology, as well as a remote image diagnostic support services based on information processing technology.