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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul. 2013)


Aiming at research to contribute to achieving world peace and happiness of mankind

Reporting the latest results from the “Waseda of Research”

Development of technology that forms vascular network on cell sheets

Professor Mitsuo Umezu and Assistant Researcher Katsuhisa Sakaguchi, both from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Professor Tatsuya Shimizu from Tokyo Women’s Medical University developed technology to create thick cell sheets with vascular network by culturing cells on the body-tissue-like collagen gel comparable to a living tissue.

Cell sheets are fabricated by proliferating cells and creating a thin sheet with them. Usually, if the cell sheet of heart muscle is too thick, cells die because oxygen and nutrition do not reach deep inside, and for in vitro experiment, the maximum thickness of the cell sheet is about 0.03mm. In order to make it thicker, there is a need to form vascular network in the sheet. Their study result confirmed that when cell sheet containing vascular endothelial cell is attached to gel material with flow channels and cultured, vascular network is formed inside the sheet through which culture solution runs and the tissue with thickness of 0.1mm is fabricated.

This study result promises to provide conditions similar to the inside of the body in a test tube and will improve accuracy of testing drug effectiveness.

World’s first success to stop bleeding of large vein using “nanosheets”

Attaching nanosheets to the cut in the rabbit’s inferior vena cava

The thickness of a “nanosheet” (nano adhesive plaster) is nano (100 thousandth part of 1 mm), which is as thin as cell membrane. A research group of Professor Shinji Takeoka from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, in joint research with Associate Professor Manabu Kinoshita from the National Defense Medical College and others successfully controlled massive venous bleeding using nanosheets in a rabbit’s inferior vena cava for the first time in the world. The result was published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery (electric version).

Nanosheets can be tightly attached to the surface of any organ and skin with no adhesive, and furthermore, cause no adhesion. Because the nanosheets are transparent, the control of the bleeding can be clearly seen in addition to being able to overlap multiple nanosheets when there is insufficient arrest of the bleeding.

With this success, it is expected that nanosheets, which can simply stop massive bleeding of thin-wall large vessels such as large vein without using complicated surgical techniques such as angiorrhaphy, will also become considerably useful for hemostatic therapy in the victims with massive hemorrhage from serious injury. Professor Takeoka and others are aiming, through improvements, to develop nanosheets which will also be effective in controlling arterial bleedings.

Revealing the system of meiotic division of cells, which has been a mystery for 20 years

Associate Professor Masamitsu Sato from the Faculty of Science and Engineering in joint research with Japan Science and Technology Agency, University of Tokyo, Cancer Research UK, and Kazusa DNA Research Institute, identified a part of the meiotic division system that produces gametes such as sperms and eggs and published the research result in the “Nature cell biology”.

During the meiotic division, Kinetochores (center of chromosome) are detached from the centrosome and may cause a risk of chromosome mis-partitioning. It has been unclear for 20 years how the kinetochores are captured by spindle and form correct gametes. Through their research, it was revealed that during the meiotic division, a) an extensive microtubule array assembles and pulls scattered kinetochores towards the centrosome, and b) the microtubule-associated protein Alp7 is located on the kinetochore side and assists in binding microtubules. This result provides a possibility that leads to preventive treatment of Down syndrome or miscarriage attributable to meiotic division of cells by incorporating Alp7 in the cells as artificial gene.