Introduction of Department

As a course responsible for basic medicine and clinical medicine, we are engaged in education, clinical and research under Professor Kodama. As for education, we educate not only the medical students, but also undergraduates and graduate students from other majors, and for clinical practice, we carry out pancreatic islet transplantation for severe type 1 diabetes mellitus patients. For research, with a theme of "Seeding" leading to "Translational Research", we carry out research related to pancreatic islet transplantation such as cell transplantation, transplantation immunology, cell preservation, organ preservation, regeneration of insulin-producing cells, regeneration of urethra, wound healing, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, regeneration of salivary gland, regeneration of adrenal cortex hormone-producing cells, and the like, we have developed a wide range of programs.

Pancreatic islet transplantation, the clinical practice of this course, was introduced as a new treatment for severe type 1 diabetes mellitus patients in year 2000 overseas and 2004 in Japan. It is a cell transplantation treatment in which a pancreatic islet, an endocrine cell mass including the insulin-producing cells, is isolated and transplanted from pancreas provided by brain dead or asystolic donor. The first case of pancreatic islet transplantation in Kyushu was conducted at Fukuoka University Hospital in November 2006. Currently, clinical pancreatic islet transplantation certified facility as advanced medical B in Japan are limited to 6 facilities, Fukuoka University being the only certified facility in Kyushu. In cooperation with other organizations involved, we are working to establish a system and facility so that can offer pancreatic islet transplantation to as much sever type 1 diabetes mellitus patients as possible in Fukuoka University hospital. In addition, to improve results of pancreatic islet transplantation, we take in immunological, molecular biological, and tissue engineering approach in our research. For pancreatic islet transplantation as mentioned above is a cell transplantation therapy, so it is possible to add a variety of cell modifications such as gene insertion or induction of transplanted islet regeneration. Therefore the basic research is considered to be able to reflect the most clinically for future therapeutic deployment.

In recent years, the medical transplantation not only pancreatic islet transplantation, faces chronic organ donor shortage. As these solutions, xenograft studies using different types of animals such as pigs, which are not dependent on human donor has been widely conducted. As one way of heterogeneous pancreas islet transplantation, using immunoisolation film to encapsulate porcine pancreas islets for bio-artificial islet transplantation has already been brought to clinical trials abroad, and we are also working on it in our laboratory. In addition, cell transplantation derived from iPS cells to age-related macular degeneration has started as a clinical trial in Japan, and further development and clinical application of regenerative medicine are expected in the future. This course carries out basic research of cell therapy and regenerative medicine for a variety of diseases, and to put actual clinical treatment into perspective, we have developed faculty-departments and university-industry collaborations.

Last but not least, in the future, cell therapy and regenerative medicine are believed to be at the core of advanced medicine. If you are interested in cell therapy and regenerative medicine research, please by all means feel free to visit our office.

(Written by T. Itoh)