Hitachi, Ltd.

Towards Building an Infrastructure for Regenerative Medicine

Cell culture cartridge
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Automated culture system by Hitachi
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 Regenerative medicine is attracting attention as an innovative medicine that realizes fundamental recovery of dysfunctional or defective cells, tissues and organs. For the industrialization of regenerative medicine, it is urgently necessary to develop an automated manufacturing system that enables low-cost manufacturing and a stable supply of uniformly processed cells and tissues. It is also necessary to build the infrastructure, which include cell processing centers and transport system. Hitachi Group has been involved in developing a wide range of biomedical technologies and businesses and we are able to make full use of the strengths of each company in the group.

 In the field of regenerative medicine also, we are building social infrastructure technologies based on the experience of the Hitachi Group's past business successes. To support industrialization of regenerative medicine, automation of cell cultivation and tissue manufacturing is particularly important, and automated cultural technology is the infrastructural technology toward practical use of regenerative medicine.

 Currently, Hitachi is collaborating with Tokyo Women's Medical University and CellSeed Inc. to establish closed automated culture systems of cell sheets for corneal regeneration. To achieve this aim, we have been developing cell culture cartridges mounted a temperature responsive polymer-grafted porous membrane (Fig.1). It will enable to automatically produce cell sheets avoiding the risk of contamination (Fig.2).

 Corneal epithelial cell sheets have been produced automatically with the system. It was observed that the cell sheets had multi-layering structure and expressed various maker proteins as well as manually cultured cell sheets. Moreover, the corneal epithelial cell sheets were transplanted onto damaged eyes of a rabbit. It has been confirmed that the cell sheet engrafted onto the corneal stroma has barrier function. In the future, we plan to produce cell sheets from human cells using a GMP (good manufacturing practice) compliant system. This will enable us to establish automated culture system that ensures the safety and repeatability for clinical application.

* Research results under NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization)'s Basic Technologies Research Promotion Project: "Development of nano-bio interface technologies for tissue regeneration implant" (Collaborated with TWMU and CellSeed as well as with Osaka University.)