RESEARCH TITLE Medical, Food, and Engineering Collaboration Project for Managing Lifestyle Diseases


ホーム 研究プロジェクトMedical, Food, and Engineering Collaboration Project for Managing Lifestyle Diseases


Principal Researcher

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Professor Emiko Okuda-Ashitaka


Department of Biomedical Engineering

Professor Koichi Kawahara


Department of Biomedical Engineering

Professor Kiyoshi Matsumura


Department of Applied Chemistry

Professor Takayo Moriuchi-Kawakami


Department of Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor Taketo Ohmori


Department of Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor Hidetoshi Fujita


Division of Human Sciences

Associate Professor Masato Nishiwaki


Graduate School of Intellectual Property

Professor Seiji Hakoda


Graduate School of Intellectual Property

Professor Masanori Kakuta

External Collaborator

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Guest Professor Yoshihiro Ohmiya


Lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia are a serious problems hindering the extension of a healthy life expectancy in a super-aging society.

This project focuses on the disorders caused by lifestyle diseases to build an organic research framework for elucidation of the mechanisms underlying diseases, for disease prevention, for disease diagnosis, and for providing research seeds. This project will promote the development of drugs and functional foods based on fundamental research and provide seeds for medical technologies. We aim to build a healthy society that can handle aging and maintain or improve their quality of life. Our research also includes human resources that can play an active role in life science fields, such as the pharmaceutical, food, and medical device industries.

1. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying diseases (Fundamental research for drug development)

We are working on clarifying the mechanisms underlying the pathological basis of lifestyle diseases, with Professor Kawahara focusing on chronic inflammation, Professor Okuda-Ashitaka focusing on diabetic neuropathic pain, Professor Matsumura focusing on fever in stroke caused by hypertension and arteriosclerosis, and Associate Professor Fujita focusing on diabetes mellitus and obesity. We constructed animal and cell model of disease for analysis at the cell, tissue, and specimen levels. We have identified anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing rare sugars, peptides that suppress diabetic neuropathic pain, and proteins that suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines, and clarified their effectiveness and mechanism of action.

2. Disease prevention (Development of functional foods)

D-Amino acid, an isomer of the L-amino acid that make up proteins, demonstrates important functionality in neural transmission, and hormone synthesis/generation. We are investigating foods that contain D-amino acids and contribute to the prevention of lifestyle diseases. Associate Professor Ohmori studies the level of D-amino acids included in various foods, such as fermented food, and analyzes changes in the level of D-amino acids as results of processing techniques. Associate Professor Nishiwaki also uses foods that contain high levels of D-amino acids to determine their effect on arterial stiffness in humans and conduct evaluations of arteriosclerosis.

3. Disease diagnosis (Development of measurement probes)

We are developing probes to determine the chemical species in organisms and biomarker proteins for diagnosis of lifestyle diseases. We are also developing technologies for rapid diagnosis, with Guest Professor Ohmiya working on luminescent probes based on antibodies with luciferase photoprotein for the measurement of biomarker protein levels, and Professor Moriuchi-Kawakami working on ion probes using ion-sensitive field effect transistors (ISFET) and ion-selective electrodes (ISE) for the measurement of chemical species in organisms.

4. Promotion of intellectual property creation for research seeds

Professor Hakoda and Professor Kakuta promote the acquisition of patents and corporate collaboration by encouraging the organic coupling of research seeds and corporate needs, based on experience leading the intellectual property strategy of pharmaceutical and food companies.


Positioning in Conferences/Industries

One of the common pathologies of lifestyle diseases is chronic inflammation, in which inflammation progresses slowly. Furthermore, diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, and cerebral infarction are the major pathologies caused by lifestyle diseases. One-third of patients with diabetes mellitus are afflicted by neuropathic pain, which is not treatable with existing painkillers and is intractable. Strokes caused by cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage are associated with a high fever, and fever is one reason for aggravation of the condition. The detailed mechanisms underlying chronic inflammation, diabetic neuropathic pain, and stroke fever are unclear, and no effective drugs exist. Furthermore, it is important to prevent lifestyle diseases and extend healthy life expectancy. Foods that help prevent diseases are valuable since they are convenient as well as safe. The functionality of D-amino acids has been established, and foods containing D-amino acids are expected to have a preventative effect on lifestyle diseases. Early diagnosis of lifestyle diseases is also important for treatment. It is thought that luminescent and ion probing may be able to be used instead of conventional biochemical examination to enable simple high-sensitivity measurements.

Environmental Analysis/Meaning for Society/Future Potential

The proportion of individuals aged 65 and above in Japan constitutes 28% of the population, implying that the nation is heading towards a super-aging society. In order to extend healthy life expectancy, there is an urgent need to develop methods for rapid diagnosis, treatment strategies, and methods for preventing the disorders caused by lifestyle diseases. Although medicines for hypertension and hyperlipidemia with a high level of treatment satisfaction and medical significance have been developed, pharmaceuticals for diabetic neuropathic pain, cerebral infarction, and cerebral hemorrhage have a low level of treatment satisfaction and medical significance. This research project will be able to contribute towards overcoming these issues.


Professor Kawahara et al. used a cell pathology model to identify rare sugars and proteins that suppress chronic inflammation. Professor Okuda-Ashitaka et al. used the pathology model of a mouse specimen to identify peptides that suppress neuropathic pain. Professor Matsumura et al. used the pathology model of a mouse specimen and a tissue-level analysis to discover the possibility that factors other than fever from infection cause stroke fever. Associate Professor Fujita et al. found that the gene that cause rheumatic arthritis is associated with diabetes mellitus and obesity. This new knowledge might lead to the development of novel treatment approaches, and analysis at the cell, tissue, and specimen levels is required to promote effectiveness evaluations for candidate drugs and the clarification of mechanisms underlying diseases. Associate Professor Ohmori et al. established a method for the quantification of D-amino acids and in foods. Associate Professor Nishiwaki et al. investigated the effectiveness of several foods by measuring arterial stiffness. The development of foods, including D-amino acids, that contribute to the prevention of lifestyle diseases is highly useful. Guest Professor Ohmiya et al. used antibodies with luciferase to enable the rapid diagnosis of cancer. Professor Moriuchi-Kawakami et al. succeeded in producing high-performance ion sensing membranes. This will lead to the development of new measurement probes for lifestyle diseases.


For any inquiry about this project, please contact Center for Research Administration & Social Outreach.

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