The Results from Tokushima’s Diabetes Research

In Tokushima, the rate of death from Diabetes has continued to be the worst in the nation. A strategy to fight diabetes is becoming a pressing task in which the citizens of the prefecture have been implemented in to the strategy. Especially, from 2009, with the support of the government (Monbukagakusho), Tokushima Health/ Medicine Cluster Project (It is a project that seeks the construction of the “International Level Diabetes Research Innovation Clinical Hub Project” in order to expand research innovations along with research that is aimed toward a victory against a local and global problem. This term will be referred to as the “cluster project”) was created. The project is a cooperative effort between Tokushima University and various industry, university, and government. A wide variety of research in respect to the prevention and overcoming of Diabetes is being developed with the continuous invention of new treatments for diabetes, food and medicine, and also the creation of supportive services that derive from the inventions.

Hamao Shigetada
Tokushima “Kenkou” Innovation
Promotion Council, Headquarters
Project Director Hamao Shigetada

In result of this project, in 2014 Tokushima was able to deplete its ranking in the nation as the prefecture with the highest mortality rate from diabetes, and was also able to actualize medical tourism, and commercialization and commodification of the research results found by companies within the prefecture. Many results came about from this project. With this, we were able to see effects of the stabilization of the local economy Furthermore, in 2014 we were able to continue to the cluster project with the implementation of the “Tokushima Health and Happiness Innovation Plan”. The initiatives and research that aim for the actualization of a healthy and long living society are still continuing today through the overcoming of diabetes, with the enhancement of competitiveness in the international regions to capture the powerful potential of, people, things, and money.

1.Holding Asian Diabetes Forum

To overcome the “Asian diabetes” which is worried about the rapid increase mainly in Chinese,We invited diabetes researchers representing Japan and China to Tokushima University (a base for clinical research on diabetes in Asia),Held for the purpose of promoting collaboration of clinical and research among Japan and China.

The 1th
event date August 11, 2010 (Wed)
· Place Tokushima University Hospital
· Number of participants 64

Overview:Conducted lectures and panel discussions by researchers developing advanced diabetes research in Japan and China.From China, researchers from “Nanjing Medical University First Hospital”, “Tianjin Medical University Metabolic Disease Hospital”, “Zuikin Hospital affiliated with Shanghai traffic University Medical Institute”, “Chongqing Medical University Second Hospital”,From Japan, researchers from the graduate school of Tokyo University, the graduate school of Chiba University and the graduate school of Yamaguchi University conducted lectures and panel discussions.

The 2th
event date Tuesday August 16, 2011
Place Tokushima University Hospital
· Number of participants 45

Overview:From China we invited Nanjing University and Hunan Provincial People’s Clinic (two each) diabetes researchers.From Japan, researchers from Osaka University graduate school and Kobe University graduate school are invited. We exchanged the latest information on diabetes research and clinical practice in Japan and China.

The 3th
event date Friday, January 11, 2013
· Place Tokushima University Hospital
· Number of participants 50

Overview:We conducted research exchanges between researchers invited from Tokyo Medical and Dental University graduate school and Juntendo University graduate school and international students from the University of Tokushima (from Asia)

The 4th
event date Friday, November 22, 2013
Place Tokushima University Hospital
Number of participants 50

Overview:Invited researchers from BGI Research from China,In addition, from Japan, researchers from the University of Tokyo graduate school and Kumamoto University graduate school were invited to conduct advanced research and exchanges aimed at forming an international “diabetes clinical research base”.

2.Three Research Results in Regards to Diabetes

Research to prevent the progression of pathological conditions of diabetes

By developing epigenome analysis techniques, etc. to find damages of pancreatic beta-cells at early stages, we will realize early diagnosis of diabetes and quantification of a cellular damage after islet transplantation and promote technical development for pancreatic beta-cell treatment. In addition, by applying a ‘super-high sensitive autoantibody measurement method’, which is one of our former achievements, we will diagnose the functional deterioration of pancreatic beta-cells earlier and more precisely, which leads to more appropriate treatment for diabetes.

Furthermore, paying attention to the fact that a novel fish-derived fatty acid has a function to improve vascular damage, we will develop the first drug in the world such as a treatment agent, or a specially designated healthy foods for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which is a cause and complication of diabetes.

Measurement kit under development

Research that plays a role in preventing Diabetes caused complications

We aim to contribute to the reduction of medical expenses as well as the promotion of workers’health by creating epoch-making drugs to reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress, which causes diabetes and its complications.We aim to discover leading compounds to develop the first treatment drug of this kind in the world by applying a ‘drug discovery screening method, targeting endoplasmic reticulum stress’, which is part of our research and development results in the past.

We will further develop this screening method horizontally to discover leading compounds for treatment of diabetes complications and speedily realize novel drugs available in the market. To promote and improve the research and development, we will apply ‘techniques to reproduce cellular functions in vitro’, which is also part of our research accomplishments in the past, and establish an iPS cell culture system using mesenchymal stem cells.

Follicle Stress Schematic Drawings

Research to make the best combination for diabetes care

We will develop the effective diabetes care program and educational tools on new local healthcare cooperation models by utilizing information and communication technology (ICT) .We will develop a diabetes regional health care partnership model, utilizing ICT, which is a combination of further advanced health check-up and daily life guidance services, local health care networks utilizing ICT, meal menu and exercise therapy based on the concept of energy density, and disease control by patients themselves based on effective intervention instructions and a diabetes electric notebook.

After such a model is developed, we will carry out technology transfer to local private healthcare institutions and cooperate with local healthy food and service industries to develop a wide-ranged diabetes check-up and treatment.

Example of severe prevention project

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