By creating nanobio devices that integrate the various functions of medical devices and drugs on a nanoscale, the project aims to establish a system for accurate diagnosis and treatment that realizes the provision of minimally invasive, seamless medical care from very early diagnosis to curative treatment of cancer and other intractable diseases.
This will eventually bring innovation to the medical system, enabling secure provision of high-quality, cost-effective medicines to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. In addition, we intend to be a global pioneer in establishing a new medical industry that leads the future of Japan and boosts Japan's international industrial competitiveness.
From an academic perspective, we will establish a new academic field based on nanobiotechnology and foster human resources in the field that integrates medicine, pharmacy, and engineering to provide the driving force for Japan to lead the world and bring further innovation in the future.
As the target of diagnosis and treatment, the project focuses on cancer, which is the most common cause of death in the Japanese population. The resultingbasic technologies can be applied to the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, that threaten public health.
In order to overcome cancer and other intractable diseases, we should create a seamless, comprehensive process where the heralding signs and lesions of diseases are precisely detected by early diagnosis via screening and by accurate diagnosis using imaging techniques, highly effective and safe treatment is provided by combining surgeries as topical treatments and drug therapies as systemic treatments based on the condition of the disease, and the lesion is reconstructed after treatment.
For this purpose, the project promotes the following four nanobiotechnology-based sub-themes in close collaboration with engineering, medicine, pharmacies, and industry.
- Creation of nano-diagnosis system
- Creation of nano-drug delivery system (Nano-DDS)
- Creation of minimally invasive nano-treatment system
- Creation of nano-reconstruction system
In addition to sub-themes I to IV, we will conduct research to apply nanobiotechnology to contribute to society as a theme shared among sub-themes. Here, we will engage not only in activities to give back to society through the rapid provision of technologies and products developed under each theme, but also in the construction of an elaborate evaluation system that can quantify the effects of such commercialization on medical costs and medical and social systems as a whole, based on global trends in the research and development of drugs and medical devices utilizing advanced nanotechnology.
Under sub-theme I, we will develop rapid cancer screening devices that enable highly sensitive detection of trace amounts of tumor markers in the blood. Combination of point-of-care tests (POCT) using such technology and cancer treatment described under sub-themes II and III will facilitate the prediction of drug effects and post-treatment follow-up, resulting in improved treatment effects.
Sub-theme II will realize the diagnosis of micro-cancers by constructing nano devices equipped with combined imaging molecules and enable predictive treatment and rapid assessment of effects in targeted cancer treatment using nano devices. In addition, the combination of nano-DDS-based systemic drug therapies targeting advanced or metastatic cancer, which is to be developed under sub-theme II, and minimally invasive local treatment of cancer, which is to be developed under sub-theme III, will contribute to the establishment of systematic cancer treatment that is curative for cancer in any condition.
Moreover, the combination of minimally invasive treatment under sub-theme III and devices for guided tissue formation spatially placing nano-DDS under sub-theme IV will enhance post-treatment reconstruction of the tissue in the lesion, realize shorter hospital stays, and help patients return to work earlier.
Our specific goals are as follows:
- Establishment of device technologies for rapid and sensitive measurement of blood markers for early diagnosis of cancer
- Establishment of simple and rapid diagnostic methods will contribute to a decrease in cancer mortality, more effective cancer test systems, reduction in cost for hospital visits, and elimination of regional gaps.
- Establishment of technology for nano-device-based imaging of lesions
- The technology will lead to definitive treatment, including predictive treatment and rapid assessment of treatment effects, using nanobio devices equipped with an imaging function.
- Practical application of nanobio devices containing anticancer agents
- The devices will contribute to the extension of a healthy life expectancy from pinpoint treatment with fewer side effects, improvement of the patient's QOL by eliminating the need for hospital admission and reducing side effects, formation of a 2 to 5 trillion-yen market based on DDS technology originating from Japan, and enhancement of Japan's international industrial competitiveness.
- Establishment of the foundation for nanobio devices containing nucleic acid medicines
- The foundation will lead to practical application of nucleic acid medicines, advancement into the global market with universal drug delivery technology, appropriate planning of medical costs through the shift from antibody medicines to nucleic acid medicines, and realization of treatment of intractable diseases other than cancer, such as cardiovascular and locomotor apparatus diseases.
- Establishment of a minimally invasive treatment technology through integration of nanobio devices and navigation technology, as well as practical application of implant devices incorporating nanobio devices for guided tissue formation
- The technology will help patients return to work rapidly after treatment and contribute to a high QOL.