Regenerating Teeth and Bones With iPS Cells (Part 3)

Hiroshi Egusa

How freeze-drying iPS cells could prove to be the solution to tooth-regenerative therapy
Interviewer & Japanese Writer: Yamamoto Takaya; Translation & Editing: Matthew Cherry

Dr. Hiroshi Egusa, who joined the INNO-vation Program’s Disruptive Challenge with his research on regenerative bone therapy, continues to work on his challenge to this day. He’s currently working on creating a Proof of Concept.

(Click here to read Part 1)

“As a fundamental prior step towards actually using this method as a form of medical therapy, the concept must be proven to be safe and effective. We use animals for testing purposes, inserting the material we’ve made into parts of animals that are missing bone, and testing whether or not it actually is effective in regenerating bone. That being said, even if it proves to be highly effective, we can’t put it into practice if the cost remains high, so we’re also working on developing new technologies to keep the costs down,” Dr. Egusa explained.

iPS Cell

Bones made from freeze-dried iPS cells demonstrate superior regenerative results when compared with traditional artificial bones

Because this is planned to be used in the medical field, the path to realization is still going to take quite a bit of time. “Whenever there’s a new innovation in the science field, you see a sudden uptick in the pace of new research and developments. While we expect the same for iPS cell research – and I find myself wanting to bring about such innovations firsthand – if we don’t see these kinds of innovations come around I’d like to steadily continue working on this research and implement it in about 10 years’ time,” Dr. Egusa explained about the future of his research.

Dr. Egusa is continuing his research with a team of his own. He says when creating a team, including people with different qualities is extremely important. “I think it’s the same with any kind of job, but figuring out how to create an environment that fosters creative ideas and approaches is vital,” Egusa pointed out about team-building. “That’s why I include people in my team that I particularly find to have different natures.”

“When creating something brand new, the progression and method of your development process can change completely just by having a separate, or rather completely different pair of eyes involved. There may be a few times where a new hypothesis is developed but it produces no results after giving it a try. If the makeup of your team is truly as it should be, the failure in and of itself becomes something exciting. If everyone shares the same viewpoint, everyone’s going to crash into the same wall together. That’s why having people with different viewpoints on your team is crucial: they’ll let you know when to stop,” Dr. Egusa explained.

Finally, Dr. Egusa wishes to leave these words of wisdom.

“I can’t speak from a place of importance as I myself haven’t completely succeeded in my work, but I think doing something you want to do is what matters most, as I continue to work on the things I want to do. Whether it’s your lifestyle or what you’re working on, a lot of hurdles will present themselves to you, but it’s easy to keep on going if you don’t worry about them too much and think of them as something fun. It’s often said the difference between a genius and a fool is paper thin, but I feel like continuing to do something is what leads someone down the path to becoming a genius.”

Dr. Egusa has always continued his research with a burning desire. That passion will surely continue as he makes his way toward the realization of bone regenerative therapy using iPS cells.

Dr. Hiroshi Egusa

Dr. Hiroshi Egusa’s Profile

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