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Kyoto University’s CiRA Purchases Fluidigm BioMark™ System for Stem Cell Reprogramming Research

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Fluidigm Corporation has announced that the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application of Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), has introduced a BioMark™ System for Genetic Analysis.

CiRA is using microfluidic properties of the system’s integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) to analyze selected genes in iPS cells and quantify copies of specific genes transferred into a cell to generate iPS cells.

Dr. Yamanaka’s group pioneered how to successfully turn adult skin cells into the equivalent of human embryonic stem cells without using an actual embryo.

Dr. Yamanaka had previously demonstrated this technique on mice, and then turned his attention to human cells. Among many opportunities, stem cells hold the promise of allowing researchers to successfully treat incurable diseases by growing replacement tissues for patients.

“Dr. Yamanaka’s instinct and insight of recognizing that cells could be reprogrammed into iPS cells will enable a broad spectrum of research into regenerative medicine. Having CiRA, led by Dr. Yamanaka, adopt Fluidigm’s BioMark system to study individual cells and their genetic profiles, joins leading-edge science with leading-edge technology to form a dream team of stem cell research. This is extremely exciting,” said Gajus Worthington, president and CEO of Fluidigm.

The ability of Fluidigm’s microfluidic devices - called integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) - to isolate and control individual molecules provides great insight into the development of biological events that influence stem cell differentiation. Analyzing the stochastic differences between individual cells typically requires studying large numbers of individual cells and genes.

Fluidigm’s IFC volume requirements are so low that researchers have been able to study as many as 1,000 genes from an individual cell. The technology facilitates thousands of single cell experiments allowing the biological differences to manifest themselves.

"Each stem cell needs to be treated as an individual because it’s not necessarily in the same state at every point in time. You have to look at them as individuals," noted Worthington.