Development of medical technologies for overcoming intractable cancers and cardiovascular diseases
Despite significant progress made in the medical sciences, still too many people suffer from cardiovascular diseases and cancer for which effective therapeutic or preventive approaches are lacking. The objective of this research program is to develop state-of-the-art heart simulator technology and new diagnostic / therapeutic tools for cardiovascular diseases as well as new viral therapy for cancers by gaining an innovative understanding of these most prevailing diseases in Japan.
The program will use advanced computational science to develop heart simulator technology unique from existing technology. Using sophisticated mathematical modeling technology, it will simulate different heart functions including behavior of individual cardiac muscle cells and output of blood. When applied to individual patients, the technology is expected to simulate their cardiovascular function and identify, at an early stage, patients at high risk of sudden death or patients with heart failure for whom heart transplant may be the only therapeutic option. It is also expected to help determine indications for surgical intervention or regenerative medicine and their specific operational procedures as well as to optimize drug selection, leading to drastic amelioration of treatment outcomes. In addition, the heart simulator is expected to be instrumental in precisely determining indications of devices for preventing and/or treating fatal arrhythmias and eventually preventing cardiac sudden death. This research program also includes development of innovative cardiac resynchronization devices and a series of demonstrative experiments on the technology for better prognoses of heart failures. Furthermore, better understanding of the mechanisms of the lifestyle-related diseases, in particular cardiac diseases, will provide the scientific basis for developing therapeutic devices and diagnostic technologies.
As for cancer, in particular malignant brain tumors for which no effective therapeutic approaches are available at present, this research program will focus its efforts on development of new viral vectors. It will also accumulate and analyze clinical information for drug discovery and effective evaluation for relevant therapies on the diseases. To fulfill these tasks, we will need to develop standardized IT infrastructure and compatible software systems. This research program will seek to develop a system that provides extensive linkage of clinical information including electronic patient charts, laboratory test results and epidemiological statistics. The system would also be helpful in detecting adverse events associated with drugs at an early stage and evaluating efficacy of medical technologies, leading to streamlined medical care and reduced medical expenditures in society overall.
This research program places higher priority on development of internationally competitive medical technologies, which will transform Japan from a country overwhelmed by influx of overseas pharmaceuticals and medical equipment into an exporter of innovative medical technology and to bring great hope to patients with cardiovascular diseases or cancer.