Therapeutic Medical Device Development Division
Conduct research mainly on therapeutic medical devices in collaboration with the Development Strategy Division
In collaboration with the Development Strategy Division, we will conduct needs provision, development and assessment of therapeutic medical devices, primarily those that fall under Class III and IV highly controlled medical devices (e.g., minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgery-related devices, endovascular treatment devices, surgical devices, circulatory function treatment devices, respiratory function treatment devices).
Study on a micro MEMS tactile sensor for a minimally invasive surgery
A medical catheter has widely been used as a minimally invasive medical device, for insertion of vasodilator balloons and stents into blood vessels. A guide wire attached to the tip of the catheter moves in the blood vessel in advance in order to carry the balloon and the stent to the affected part. However, the problem of damaging the blood vessel wall when inserting into a blood vessel has been reported. Although the position of the tip of the guide wire is judged from the X-ray image, the contact situation between the guide wire tip and the blood vessel has been coordinated by the feeling of the doctor hands. In order to realize highly safe minimally invasive surgery, it has strongly been needed to realize a system that can operate while detecting the force applied to the tip. Therefore, we have studied on micro 3-axis tactile sensors using MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) technology. This sensor, extremely tiny diameter of 0.32 mm, is fabricated from silicon (Si) using MEMS fabrication processes. The sensor is attached to the tip of the guide wire and allows us to measure the force applied to the tip. Detection of forces in 3-axis directions gives us a lot of information of contact situation between the guide wire and the blood vessel. It is expected to prevent an accident in a catheter surgery.
Professor Yoshitada Isono, Associate Professor Koji Sugano
Research on Dexterous Manipulation and Teleoperation
It is difficult to robotize dexterous manipulation like humans, and the robot hand comparable to human dexterity has not been realized yet. We took “origami folding” as a target task, and have been trying to understand why humans can dexterously manipulate origami, which is flexible and has unpredictable behaviors, and to realize such dexterous manipulations by a robot. On the other hand, even when a human operates the work in an extreme environment from a distance, it is not easy to work with full use of the dexterity that the operator originally has. Therefore, in order to realize a high fidelity teleoperation system with which the operator can operate the remote robot intuitively, we have been conducting basic research on the control methods for teleoperation, sensory feedback to the operator, and the human-machine interface. These studies are expected to lead to the realization of dexterous hands for medical robots and the development of remote-controlled surgical robots.
Professor Yasuyoshi Yokokohji, Assistant Professor Hikaru Nagano
Research on molecularly Imprinted Materials in Life Sciences
Novel bio-inspired materials capable of molecular recognition, catalysis, signal transduction, and other bio-relevant functions synthesized by molecular imprinting.
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are artificial polymer-based molecular recognition materials. The molecular imprinting process involves a template polymerization approach. Post-imprinting modification (PIM) is an innovative strategy for generating MIPs analogous to biosynthetic proteins using cleavable and/or modifiable functional monomers. Our research interests are as follows.
（１）MIPs fused with antibodies for detecting exosomes prepared by PIMs
（２）PIM-based MIPs for detecting biomarker proteins and applied them to real samples.
（３）MIP nanoparticles as nanocarriers for drug delivery systems (DDS)
（４）Surface plasmon resonance nanosensing
（５）Development of automated assay systems for bioanalysis
Professor Toshifumi Takeuchi
Research on Biocompatible Soft Materials
Biocompatible materials are increasingly becoming more important to satisfy the diversifying needs of medical practices. Precious design of the biomaterials has crucial role to increase its ripple effect on medical applications: The materials morphology includes solutions, gels, crystalline / amorphous solids etc. For example, water-soluble dissolving agents that dissolves poorly water-soluble drugs, nanoparticles bearing high targeting ability toward tumor tissues, a polymer solution having in-situ gelling ability in view of post-operative tissue adhesion prevention, hydrogels that are excellent in mechanical properties and excellent in the ability to induce differentiation from cells to tissues are ideal for designing materials according to the requirements of the medical field. Therefore, from the synthesis of biocompatible materials to the functional evaluation in view of the spread to these medical sites, we are pursuing the significance as a biomaterial. Specifically, we are promoting the development of self-healing gel by using natural polysaccharides, stabilization and the controlled release of physiologically active molecules utilizing phase separation phenomena, nanoparticles / solution having supramolecular structure, and biodegradable materials.
Associate Professor Tooru Ooya