What’s on URA activities
Recovering from Neurological Impairment due to Disease or Injury2014.02.01
Biological Function and Regenerative Medicine Research Group
Professor Akira Matsumura, Faculty of Medicine
13 (13 faculty members, no postdoctoral fellows, none from other organizations)
regenerative medicine, stem cells, drug delivery systems, in-vivo imaging, translational research, medical robot
Neurological damage due to disease, such as stroke, or accident-related injury occasionally involves symptoms, such as difficulties in voluntarily moving the body and tactile sensation. If these symptoms persist, they may negatively influence patients’ daily activities. This research unit aims to recover the neurological function impaired due to disease or injury by researching and developing new treatment methods combining medical technologies and robotics-based assistive systems for the physical function.
Widely integrating research areas from medical science to robotics
In order to recover the neurological function impaired due to disease or injury, it is necessary to establish methods and techniques to allow regenerated nerves to appropriately function, in addition to actively conducting regenerative medicine research. In line with this, we promote research and development widely integrating research areas from basic to clinical medicine and nursing to cognitive/intellectual engineering and robotics. For example, we are currently engaged in R&D activities to establish a new method to treat stroke using endothelial progenitor cells, DDS*1, to enhance the effectiveness of conventional stroke treatment drugs, and robotics-based assistive systems for the physical function.
CIME*2 – A In-hospital Base for Empirical Research
As a base for in-hospital empirical research to examine the outcomes of medical and engineering studies, the Center for Innovative Medicine and Engineering (CIME) is currently being organized within University of Tsukuba Hospital (Figure 1). In this center, there is a section to conduct clinical trials as part of the development of rehabilitation methods using robot suits (HAL*3) for stroke inpatients and those with physical limitations due to spinal cord injury (Figure 2). Another section is allocated to cancer vaccine production. The cancer vaccines produced here will be supplied to external medical institutions. The center also consists of a section conducting empirical research to examine mechanisms to prevent injury, such as falls, by detecting patients’ abnormal movements at the nurse station, with a sensor placed under the bed. The outcomes of these studies will be used to identify and resolve problems, and be applied to clinical practice in the future.
*1: Drug delivery systems: techniques to selectively deliver drugs to targeted sites in the body
*2: The Center for Innovative Medicine and Engineering
*3: Hybrid assistive limb
●Clinical applications of the outcomes of basic and clinical studies on cell therapy
●Clinical applications of the outcomes of basic and clinical studies on DDS
●Research for the practical application of robotics-based assistive systems, such as HAL
●Research and development for neuromodulation-based physical function improvement systems
●Research and development for functional reconstruction through human communication
●Research and development for functional assessment systems adopting the latest diagnostic imaging techniques
(Interviewed on November 22, 2013)