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Scientists Develop Non-Invasive, Pain-Free Method to Reprogram Canine Stem Cells

New method generates canine-induced pluripotent stem cells in dogs from urine samples without using feeder cells

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Scientists at Osaka Metropolitan University have devised an efficient, non-invasive, and pain-free method to reprogram canine stem cells from urine samples, bringing furry companions one step closer to veterinary regenerative treatment. Their work has been published in Stem Cell Reports.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have been widely employed in studies on human generative medicine. With the growing importance of advanced medical care for dogs and cats, there is an expectation that new therapies utilizing iPSCs will be developed for these companion animals, just as they have been for humans. Unfortunately, canine somatic cells exhibit lower reprogramming efficiency compared to those of humans, limiting the types of canine cells available for generating iPSCs. IPSC induction often involves using feeder cells from a different species. However, considering the associated risks, minimizing xenogeneic components is often advisable, signifying the need to improve the efficiency of reprogramming various types of canine cells in dogs without using feeder cells.

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A research team led by Shingo Hatoya, PhD and Masaya Tsukamoto, PhD, from the Graduate School of Veterinary Science at Osaka Metropolitan University has identified six reprogramming genes that can boost canine iPSC generation by about 120 times compared to conventional methods using fibroblasts. The iPSCs were created from urine-derived cells using a non-invasive, straightforward, and painless method. Additionally, the researchers succeeded in generating canine iPSCs without feeder cells, a feat that had been impossible until now. The team aims to disseminate their findings in the global research community, contributing to advances in regenerative medicine and genetic disease research in veterinary medicine.

“As a veterinarian, I have examined and treated many animals,” explained Hatoya. “However, there are still many diseases that either cannot be cured or have not been fully understood. In the future, I am committed to continue my research on differentiating canine iPSCs into various types of cells and applying them to treat sick dogs, hopefully bringing joy to many animals and their owners.”

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP18K19273, JP18H02349, JP19J22851, and JP22H02525. This work was also supported by JST Adaptable and Seamless Technology transfer Program through Target-driven R&D (A-STEP) Grant Number JPMJTM20QH. This study was also funded by Anicom Specialty Medical Institute, Inc. This research was supported in part by the 2022 Osaka Metropolitan University (OMU) Strategic Research Promotion Project (Priority Research).

-Note: This news release was originally published on the Osaka Metropolitan University website and has been edited for style.