Gunma University Medical Innovation
“Gunma University Medical Innovation Project” is a multi-disciplinary five-year research project started in 2014 with financial support from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. A number of researchers belonging to different organizations in Gunma University, such as the Graduate School of Science and Technology, the Graduate School of Medicine, and the University Hospital, are participating in the project. The main goals of the project are to develop new medical instruments, health monitoring devices, diagnostic and Cure medicines, and so on, through tight collaboration among professionals from a variety of fields. Another important mission of the project is to educate young students to be a new type of global engineer who has professional engineering skills as well as an ability to create new prospects comprehensively in the field of medical engineering from a wide variety of knowledge.
Micro-dosimeter for heavy ion dose monitoring
Accurate dose distribution monitoring is a critical issue for the quality control of radiation cancer treatment. Therefore, there is a need to develop dosimetry at the micrometer scale (micro-dosimetry) with high special resolution and radiation sensitivity.
In this study we have successfully controlled the shape of a radio-photoluminescence (RPL) glass dosimeter with different types of activators for ionized particle detection. An RPL response around 500 – 600 nm was obtained under different radiation exposures. Moreover, dose distribution imaging was successfully visualized with a fabricated RPL glass dosimeter irradiated with a focused proton microbeam. The typical spatial resolution recorded was better than 10 μm2.
We were also the first to succeed in fabricating glass elements with micrometer-size. These R&D achievements will enable us to obtain three dimensional dose distribution with quite a convenient procedure.
Luminescent probes for in vivo Oxygen imaging
The oxygen level of the interior of living cells and tissues is one of the central parameters in many physiological, pathological, and therapeutic processes. Oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) is connected with various diseases such as cerebral infarction and ischemic heart disease, and is known to occur in tumor microenvironments. We are developing optical probes to visualize the oxygen level of biological cells and tissues on the basis of photochemistry and chemical biology.
Identification and production of biologically active compounds
Screening and design of novel drugs is one of our most exciting efforts to support drug development. We have established in vivo, in vitro, and in silico drug characterization systems and successfully identified new drug candidates, such as analgesics and antidiabetic drugs. We are also trying to express cancer vaccines using transgenic silkworms. The purified vaccines were shown to activate human T-cells and hold potential for cancer immunotherapy.
Silicon nanowire based high-sensitivity biosensor
A portable sensor with high sensitivity is needed for the detection of chemical or biological molecules in the fields of biotechnology and medical science. A silicon nanowire (SiNW)-based field effect transistor device has the potential to detect small quantities of biomolecules. To realize high sensitivity for negatively charged biomolecules such as antigens, antibodies, and DNA, it is effective to use an n-type SiNW and to reduce the wire width. In this project, we fabricated an n-type SiNW using electron beam lithography, and evaluated its sensitivity for biomolecule detection. Currently, we have succeeded in fabricating an n-type SiNW with 100 nm width and detecting lgG antibodies with the extremely low concentration of fM(10-15 mol/L).
Intuitive hands free interface
Facial orientation is one form of body language that can be used to ask someone to move something. It is enough to indicate the intention by upward, downward, right, and left facing actions. Here, we applied these intuitive actions for auto-wheelchair operations. We focused on the change nostril shape to recognize the facial orientation on the grounds that it can be regarded as a more stable shape than any other facial feature points. In addition, the gazing action was also inputted to a computer to operate a communication-aid for input characters. The eyelid shape was approximated by the Bezier curve and its curvature was reflected on input operation.