Posts Tagged: medicine

World first: Stem cell treatment for lethal STAT1 gene mutation — shows ‘disappointing’ but promising results

World first: Stem cell treatment for lethal STAT1 gene mutation — shows ‘disappointing’ but promising results

The first ever study assessing how patients with “gain of function” mutation of the STAT1 gene respond to stem cell transplantation has taken place. It involved 15 young patients, from nine different countries, each suffering a range of complications caused by the gene’s mutation. Of these, only six survived a regime of stem cell transplantation – with five completely cured and disease free by the study’s conclusion.   The study was carried out by Dr. Satoshi Okada (Hiroshima University), Professor Jennifer Leiding (University of Florida), Professor Tomohiro Morio (Tokyo Medical and Dental University), and Professor Troy Torgerson  (University of Washington). Dr. Okada, who first discovered the STAT1 gain of function… Read more

Scientists aim to reduce animals killed in drug testing

Scientists aim to reduce animals killed in drug testing

That’s the hope of Associate Professor Noriyuki Yanaka and researchers at Hiroshima University who have developed a non-invasive way to assess the anti-inflammatory properties of fortified health foods and medications. The team from HU’s Graduate School of Biosphere Science believe their technique for examining fatty tissues will greatly reduce the numbers of lab mice sacrificed and could revolutionize medicinal drug testing. With obesity levels soaring globally, so too are associated metabolic disorders including type-2-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. Over-nutrition strains the body and can physically damage the bodies naturally occurring fatty tissue. The body responds to this with an influx of macrophage white-blood cells – disease-fighting cells that physically engulf… Read more

Lasers, key to unlocking memory

Lasers, key to unlocking memory

New method uses near infrared light to shed light on memory loss conditions Researchers at Hiroshima University have developed a new laser activated technique for bridging missing links in memory flow. The brainchild of Professor Manabu Abe of Hiroshima Universities Department of Chemistry, it aims to open up the mysterious world of neurotransmission – increasing our understanding of the mechanisms involved and potentially leading to treatments for memory loss conditions.   Gaps in our understanding Memory involves the successful flow of neurotransmitters from neuron to neuron. When memory breaks down, we know there must be a gap in this flow but we currently don’t know where to start in terms… Read more

“Smart” genetic library – making disease diagnosis much easier

“Smart” genetic library – making disease diagnosis much easier

Hiroshima University finds way to determine disease-causing mutations Researchers at Hiroshima University have developed a smart genetic reference library for locating and weeding out disease-causing mutations in populations. The technique and database, developed by Dr. Satoshi Okada, of HU’s Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, has successfully estimated naturally occurring rare-variants in the STAT1 gene – and determined the diseases that would result. Using alanine scanning – a method for assessing the functional potential of genes, this study, the first of its kind, should assist doctors in diagnosing primary-immunodeficiency in patients.   STAT1 The STAT1 gene plays an important function in host immunity, through its role as a mediator… Read more

Hideki Ohdan, gastroenterology

Hideki Ohdan, gastroenterology

A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Hideki Ohdan Distinguished Professor Hideki Ohdan identifies himself as a “surgeon scientist.” He grew up in Hiroshima city and completed a Medical Degree in 1988 and a PhD degree in 1997, both from Hiroshima University. Now, he leads an active medical practice and research laboratory at Hiroshima University Hospital. His career has focused on removing biological barriers to match organ donors with patients who need organ transplants. This project is driven by the immediate needs of clinical patients, but involves solving a larger scientific mystery: how does the immune system recognize its own body as native cells to ignore and recognize foreign cells as invaders… Read more

Shigeto Yamawaki, psychology

Shigeto Yamawaki, psychology

A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Shigeto Yamawaki Excitement in a Black Box “The brain used to be a black box. You cannot approach the brain directly, like you can simply biopsy a tumor to study cancer.” Distinguished Professor Shigeto Yamawaki has opened up that black box over the course of his 27-year career at Hiroshima University, making important strides in advancing medical understanding of the human brain. Yamawaki leads a research project called “Center of KANSEI Innovation: Nurturing Mental Welfare”, working in collaboration with a Japanese car company and many other research institutes and manufacturing companies. The project team’s ultimate goal is to create a happy society that nurtures mental welfare,… Read more

Shaking Up Surgery

Shaking Up Surgery

New vibrations in old tools allow surgeons to feel what they can’t touch A small vibrating device added to surgical tools could improve surgeons’ sensitivity to different shapes and textures inside their patients’ bodies. Engineers from Hiroshima University have designed the small vibrating device to attach to any existing hand-held surgical tool and be used instantly, without requiring extra training for doctors. During minimally invasive surgeries, surgeons rely on long, thin, metal tools to explore their patients’ bodies. Such laparoscopic surgeries benefit patients by reducing the size of surgical cuts and minimizing scarring, but surgeons can no longer use their fingers to directly touch patients to sense essential information about… Read more

Untwist scoliosis by clipping wings of an overactive ladybird

Untwist scoliosis by clipping wings of an overactive ladybird

People with scoliosis, a twisting of the spine that can occur as a birth defect or more commonly starts during the teen years, are now closer to a genetic explanation for their condition. An overactive gene, called ladybird homeobox 1 (LBX1), is the start of a genetic chain reaction that causes the spine to grow abnormally. The report from collaborations at Hiroshima University, Kyoto University, RIKEN, and Kanazawa University is the first to demonstrate the functional association of scoliosis with LBX1. “A genetic test called the ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test already exists for adolescents recently diagnosed with scoliosis to predict if the curve of the spine will get worse, which… Read more

Genetic cause of neurological disease identified

Genetic cause of neurological disease identified

Using the genetic information of two different families with three generations of disease, researchers have identified a new mutation responsible for a degenerative and ultimately fatal movement disorder. Through induced pluripotent stem cell techniques, researchers also grew neurons from one patient in the laboratory to be used in future experiments. Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a genetic disease that causes wasting away of the cerebellum, the portion of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement, like walking, speaking, and even the direction of our eyes. Currently, SCA has no cure or treatment. The mutations responsible for about 30 percent of cases are still unidentified. Two different families with SCA sought… Read more

The tortoise and the hare of spinal neural circuits

The tortoise and the hare of spinal neural circuits

After an injury, practicing movements at different speeds improves certain nerve functions Changes in one circuit of nerves, but not another, in the spinal cord depend on how quickly muscles must move to complete a task, according to results from the Human Motor Control Laboratory of Professor Kozo Funase, PhD, at Hiroshima University.  The results could influence physical therapy routines for patients struggling to control their bodies after a stroke or spine injury. Multiple different types of circuits of nerves control the communication between motor and sensory nerves in the spine.  One, called presynaptic inhibition, works like a gate to control incoming sensory information and prevents muscle spasms.  Another, called… Read more