Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

Printing Technology Opens Up a New World of Medicine

 Many may ask why Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) is involved in the business of cell regenerative medicine. Since DNP's foundation in 1876, it has expanded and diversified its printing business into packaging products, lifestyle materials, display components (shadow masks and color filters, etc.), and more. Seeking to further expand the framework of "printing", we are positioning the field of the advanced life sciences including state-of the-art cell culture substrates, as one of the important areas of the future "printing".

 DNP's history of engagement in the life sciences began in 1985 with the production of urinary test strips. We were then able to apply the technology we developed for this product methods of preparing and printing enzyme inks to other fields, and succeeded in developing products such as teardrop and saliva test strips, as well as pregnancy testing kits. We also used the technology to develop blood sugar sensors, for which demand has been increasing in recent years. Separately, we developed and commercialized durable, high-barrier films and sterile packaging technology for various food-packaging materials and for packaging materials for syringes, catheters and pharmaceuticals.

 As a part of such efforts, we are collaborating with Tokyo Women's Medical University's Cell Sheet Tissue Engineering Center (CSTEC) to develop a temperature-responsive cell culture substratum. We face several challenges, the first being how to form a temperature-responsive surface on a flexible film and then process the surface into various culture vessels. The technologies we are using include coating, as well as electron beam and plastic molding technologies. A second challenge is enabling further functionalization of the culture substratum surface. We are aiming to produce unprecedented functionality by creating a micro-controlled surface asperity and also by forming cell-adhesive (or -non-adhesive) micro patterns. And here we are making full use of our original microfabrication technology. A third hurdle we are working to overcome is to successfully embed information technologies into these processes so that we can manage the quality of the cells through the use of image analysis and enable the traceability of the total process from raw materials to the final cell products.

 To date, various seed technologies for cell cultures have been proposed for regenerative medicine. At the same time, many issues remain to be solved before commercialization can be successful, especially in the areas of technology, regulations, and the economics of the business. Nevertheless, DNP is earnestly applying its experience and effort while driving the core technologies of printing and information technologies forward, so that we can contribute to the earliest possible commercialization of regenerative medicine.