Greeting from the Project Leader
I am delighted and honored that our project “Advancing preventive medicine through socio-cellular analysis of inflammation” has been selected under the Scientific Research on Innovative Areas program.
Chronic inflammation and fibrosis are implicated in the many of the diseases and deaths burdening our society, including cancer and lifestyle diseases. To maintain and promote the health of our society, there is an urgent and important need to understand the pre-disease state of chronic inflammatory disease, to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, and to develop evidence-based preventive strategies. Most existing therapies are unable to completely cure chronic inflammatory disease. While recently developed molecular targeted therapies and antibody treatments are tremendously effective against some diseases, these medicines are expensive, adding to the 40 trillion yen spent on medical treatment annually in Japan and putting pressure on health insurance and the health economy. To present solutions to these social and economic problems, our group of like-minded researchers have developed this research proposal based on our collective experience in inflammation, immunology, cytokine, environmental medicine and preventive medicine research. The “cellular society of inflammation” proposed in this project represents a novel approach to inflammation research. By considering inflamed tissues as interactions between individual cellular members of various types (cells making up tissue structures and infiltrating immune cells) and in various activation states, it will be possible to understand the progression of disease in terms of changes in the cellular society and propose preventive measures accordingly.
This project represents what is possibly the first attempt in the world at such large-scale, unified life science-based research on the prevention of chronic inflammatory disease. As a researcher with expertise in inflammation and immunology but based in social medicine and having close links with clinical researchers, I have recruited experts in environmental stress, genomic social medicine, lipid metabolism and biochemistry, cardiovascular, liver and kidney clinical medicine, molecular-targeted preventive medicine and informatics as group members under the novel theme of a “cellular society of inflammation”. I expect that the execution of this project will result in the formation of new links between research fields and the output of new concepts regarding inflammatory disease. The application of comprehensive single-cell transcriptome analysis technology to the study of topics such as development, neurology, immunology and cancer has just begun worldwide. The combination of our unique single-cell transcriptome analysis approach (developed by group member Prof. Hashimoto) with informatics technology represents a timely and important advance in preventive medicine. Furthermore, simulation of the spatio-temporal changes in the cellular society of inflammation far exceeds traditional computational biology. In collaboration with researchers from human sociology, mathematical sociology, informatic sociology and ecology, we will perform social network analysis that is expected to give birth to a new field of study (“the advancement of preventive medicine through socio-cellular analysis of inflammation”) that integrates the fields of inflammation research, preventive medicine and informatics.
From 2018 onwards, we are recruiting young researchers who will advance the socio-cellular analysis of inflammation by tackling creative and strategic research questions from different viewpoints. To realize our vision of socio-cellular analysis of inflammation, the core members of the group will establish a cellular society of inflammation analysis center that will provide support for comprehensive single-cell analysis technology. To draw out the latent potential of the planned and recruited research groups and promote collaborative research, the core members of the project will support the sharing of information, bioresources and analysis methods. Yearly group meetings, public symposiums and workshops will be held to further facilitate networking and information sharing between members, and thus strengthen our collaborative efforts towards socio-cellular analysis of inflammation.
Together with all the participating researchers, I look to striving towards the goals of the project.
Division of Molecular Regulation of Inflammatory and Immune Diseases
Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences
Tokyo University of Science