Particle Beams for Biomedical Science and Engineering
Professor Hiroki Shirato
Associate Professor Takayuki Hashimoto
Specially Appointed Associate Professor Keiji Kobashi
Assistant Professor Kentaro Nishioka
Radiotherapy is characterized by the possibility of preserving the original functions of the living body and by maintaining the patient’s ability to function through the induction of the disappearance of neoplasms/tumors, unlike surgery which treats cancer by the removal of organs/tissues from the body. X-ray radiotherapies and particle beam therapies with charged particles achieve treatment by utilizing the physical characteristics of
these rays by means of state-of-the-art scientific/engineering technology. The development of more practically useful and effective devices and therapeutic techniques will be enabled if we view and discuss the frontier technology of engineering and science on the basis of a deep understanding of human body structure/function and medical/physiological viewpoints, focusing for example on dose concentration for the purpose of tumor control, dose reduction to normal tissues/organs to minimize adverse reactions and how to deal with body and organ movements that result from respiration, cardiac beating, peristalsis, etc. This laboratory aims to cultivate talented students who are capable of contributing to improvements in disease cure
rates and quality of life (QOL) for patients with cancer and other diseases through research on technologies dealing with the motion of organs during radiotherapy, research on
particle beam therapies and the development of new medical technology, as well as cultivating globally active researchers and educators on these topics.
Radiation Medical Physics
Associate Professor Seishin Takao
Assistant Professor Kohei Yokokawa
Following recent improvement in the outcome of treatment, thanks to advances in medical/scientific/engineering technology, the need to radiotherapy has been increasing remarkably. Among others, particle beam therapy, which applies accelerators to healthcare, is receiving much expectation as a means of minimizing the patient’s physical stress through
achieving dose concentration on the target cancer. Recently, the use of image guiding technology has made it possible to provide treatment in a way tailored to the patient’s motions during treatment, morphological changes of the tumor,
bioreactions and other factors. This laboratory is aimed at utilization of the technology of science/engineering (radiation physics, quantum beam applied engineering, image engineering, etc.) to healthcare. Specifically, in collaboration with the Hokkaido University Hospital Proton Beam Therapy Center, this laboratory will engage in development of irradiation
technology/devices capable of reducing adverse events and improving therapeutic efficacy, development of image guiding technology incorporating detailed information about patient’s motions and tumor’s morphological changes, development of dose calculation/optimization techniques for realization of high precision treatment, and comprehensive education/research through links of medicine, science and engineering (verification of therapeutic efficacy, taking into account also the cellular level reactions, etc.).
Through these activities, this laboratory will cultivate researchers of medical physics and engineers for medical device development.
Radiation for Biomedical Science and Engineering
Medical Applied Basic Physics
Professor Masayuki Aikawa
In medical fields, such as radiation therapy and particle therapy, a deep understanding of natural science, especially physics, can play an important role to solve problems and to develop new technologies. For example, the systematic study of nuclear reaction probabilities (cross sections) is required to accurately estimate necessary amounts of medical radioactive isotopes (RI) while minimizing unnecessary by-products. We focus particularly on charged-particle induced reactions using accelerators, and experimentally measure production cross sections of such RI. We train specialists to conduct research for the public from the physics point of view and to obtain new knowledge required for medical fields.
Medical Physics and Engineering
Professor Masayori Ishikawa
Although medical physics is an indispensable element for radiotherapy, it seems to be less mature in Japan than in other countries.
In the United States, leading the world in terms of radiotherapy, each facility providing radiotherapy has medical physicists, who is in charge of quality control of radiotherapy and development of new radiotherapy techniques. In Japan, there is no sufficient environment for such active roles of medical physicists. Radiation measurement is a core technology not only for radiotherapy, but also diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine. Expertise education on these topics is an element indispensable for cultivation of researchers in the field of medical physics and engineers engaged in development of radiotherapy devices. This laboratory will cultivate researchers and engineers capable of contributing to healthcare through development of clinically useful technologies, in collaboration with the Hokkaido University Hospital.
Clinical Medical Physics
Assistant Professor Ryusuke Suzuki
Assistant Professor Masaya Tamura
Assistant Professor Takahiro Kanehira
New discovery for the next generation can be achieved if problems with clinical practice are viewed as research seeds and attempts are made to find solution to such problems through utilization of the knowledge/skills of science and engineering while adhering to the medical ethics. To this end, students will carry out research in areas closer to a hospital, and
confirm the ideas arising from such research through experiments, simulation, etc. at our laboratory, followed by translational research in collaboration with the industry, towards the goal of acquiring research capabilities leading to development of medical devices.
During the course of such activities, students acquire the capabilities needed for medical physicists. In this way, talents capable of contributing to the society will
Molecular Biomedical Science and Engineering Course
Medical Image Analysis
Professor Chietsugu Katoh
This laboratory involves research on computerized processing of images yielded from nuclear medicine tests (PET, SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)), CT, MRI
and so on aimed at precisely collecting medical information from such visual data. Regarding tumor images, research is made on estimation of tumor malignancy and volume,
estimation of the periphery of lesions, estimation of appropriate range of irradiation, correction of artifacts on images arising from respiratory motions and cardiac beats, and so on.
Regarding images of myocardium and brain, compartment model analysis is carried out on serial dynamic images following a dose of contrast material or radioisotope for the purpose of quantitative evaluation of ischemic lesions and quantitative analysis of tissue blood flow, oxygen consumption, etc. Artificial Intelligence technology with deep learning is also
adopted for analyzing medical image data. Talents capable of developing programs for achievement of these goals will be cultivated.
Integrated Molecular Imaging
Professor Yuji Kuge
Assistant Professor Yuki Mizuno
For realization of diagnostic molecular imaging, it is indispensable to develop a probe (molecular probe) for conversion of molecular information of the living body into measurable signals. This laboratory is aimed at developing clinically applicable molecular imaging technology through research of new molecular probes, i.e., through exploration of functional molecules, designing of probes, development of probe synthesis technology and synthesis devices, and translational research for clinical application.
This laboratory is also actively conducting research on linking diagnostic molecular imaging
technology to accurate treatment, that is, precision medicine and theranostics. In addition, through these research and development activities, this unit will guide students to acquire necessary knowledge/skill systematically so that they can contribute to healthcare and society.
Biomarker Imaging Science
Associate Professor Khin Khin Tha
Assistant Professor Kenneth Sutherland
Significant efforts have been/ are being paid to achieve "Personalized Medicine". Non- or less invasive imaging techniques such as MRI and CT are extensively used in selection of treatment methods, treatment planning and prediction/assessment of responses to treatment. This laboratory is carrying out researches that target at the development of high resolution and precision imaging diagnostics — which (i) pose little burden on patients, (ii) enable noninvasive detection of early subtle changes of the living body, and (iii) reflect not only morphological information but also the information on physiological changes of the body at
cellular/molecular level. Education on normal radiologic anatomy and diagnostic radiology making use of these imaging techniques will also be provided.
Biology for Biomedical Science and Engineering
Associate Professor Motoaki Yasuda
Correct understanding of the mechanism for carcinogenesis at the molecular level is necessary for sufficient control of cancer, the leading cause of death among Japanese people. Such
understanding is indispensable for development of new cancer diagnosis/treatment methods. In recent years, thorough analysis of RNA including non-coding RNA has been advanced after the end of genome project, and the diverse relationships between carcinogenesis and RNA have been revealed increasingly. At this laboratory, new mechanisms for carcinogenesis are explored on the basis of molecular biological analysis covering RNA, viruses, etc., and systematical education/research, ranging from basics to applied one, will be provided concerning development of new cancer diagnosis/treatment methods making use of the findings from such exploration.
Molecular and Cellular Dynamics Research
Associate Proferssor Yasuhito Onodera
Radiation therapy is commonly used for treatment of cancer.
However, the radiation effects and its molecular mechanisms on cancer or normal tissues still remain elusive. We have been investigating the acquisition process and molecular mechanisms of invasiveness on cancer cells in the presence of stress such as radiation considering three-dimensional cell structure and microenvironment using the experiment techniques of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry. Through the research program, we train students to be world-leading scientists and educators with great expertise in cancer research and experimental techniques.