A research group led by Professor Masato Fujioka and Lecturer Kazuo Nagao of Kitasato University School of Medicine and ITO EN announced the start of industry-academia joint research on the efficacy of green tea ingredients for age-related hearing loss. They aim to develop the product as a functional food or food for specified health uses.
Professor Fujioka and his colleagues have established iPS cells from the blood of patients with various types of hearing loss, including age-related and hereditary hearing loss, and have been using differentiated induced inner ear cells to elucidate pathological conditions and search for candidate compounds for therapeutic drugs. Using this technology, ITO EN’s Central Research Laboratory will search for ingredients that have a protective effect on inner ear cells from among the ingredients in green tea. Ito En has been conducting research and development on the health value of green tea ingredients, and in recent years has developed and marketed products such as matcha tea, which is labeled with the function of “improving the accuracy of cognitive functions (attention and judgment). Hearing loss is considered a major risk factor for the onset of dementia, and in studying the effects of green tea ingredients on cognitive function, the company discovered that green tea ingredients may also be useful for sensory function decline associated with age-related hearing loss, leading to the start of this joint industry-academia research.
The company has long had a policy of conducting as little animal testing as possible in product development, and has high expectations for the possibility that technology using iPS cells will replace animal testing as the next-generation technology.