Prof. Takagi moved to Hokkaido University at 1 April 2004 from International Center for Biotechnology (ICBiotech), Osaka University and started the new laboratory aiming the research on Cell Processing Engineering including Animal Cell Cultivation Engineering for biologics production, industrialization of Regenerative Medicine, and optimization of Hybrid Artificial Organs.
Animal Cell Cultivation is an important technology to produce biologics (pharmaceuticals such as interferon, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), interleukins, and therapeutic antibodies). Prof. Takagi have leaded the research and development for the animal cell cultivation process and succeeded to establish the factory facilities for tPA production when he worked for Asahi Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. from 1981 to 1996. However, even now, there are many engineering subjects to be solved.
The wide-spread use and the industrialization of the regenerative medicine have been highly expected because of the recent rapid progress in the fields of basic life sciences particularly regenerative medicine including several kinds of stem cells. Because the control of not only the proliferation but also the differentiation of human cells and their three-dimensional (3-D) culture into tissue are necessary for the realization of regenerative medicine in which cells are the final product, new technologies, namely “Cell Processing Engineering”, other than the conventional cultivation engineering of animal cells in which cell metabolites are the final products should be developed. Cell processing engineering may include the material design (cell line, scaffolds, medium validity), the culture process design (productivity improvement, ex vivo expansion in 3-D structure, separation of desired cells), the sensing and predictive tool design (quantitative analysis, kinetic model, culture monitoring), and the culture vessel design (bioreactor, culture automation, cell processing system).