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Japan induced pluripotent stem cell culture technology by European patent

Shinya yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto university, has won a European patent for his induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) culture, the first of its kind for Japan, the Kyoto University said. Local media believe the action gives Japan a leading position in the field of regenerative medicine.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (ipscs) are stem cells derived from animal somatic cells treated with inducible factors. It has similar functions to embryonic stem cells and can develop into tissues and organs. Meanwhile, it avoids the ethical and legal barriers faced by embryonic stem cell research and has a very broad prospect in the medical field. 

The patents awarded by the Japanese researchers cover the basic technique of growing induced pluripotent stem cells from two or three genes implanted into the body cells of animals such as humans. Patents are not limited to specific genes. Gene combinations with similar functions discovered in the future and cytokines used in the culture process are all subject to patent protection.

Although similar patents have been granted in Japan, they are limited to the use of specific combinations of three or four genes, neither of which are covered by patents. Kyoto university's patent application in Europe is more extensive. The patent application was approved by the European Patent Office (epo) on Monday, and Kyoto university will now go through the national patent procedures in 17 European countries, including Britain, Germany and France.

Kyoto university's patent application to the United States is also expected to be approved this year. Local media believe that in the field of pharmaceutical and regenerative medicine, Japan and the United States and Europe's induced pluripotent cell research is in the forefront, but this time Japan got the opportunity.
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