Bridging the hospital and the world

Our institute was founded in 1999 as a medical research unit added to Shiga Medical Center for Adults, a central public hospital of Shiga prefecture in Japan. Since its establishment in 1970, the hospital has been specialized for treatment and care of common diseases in working and retired generations including cancer, diseases of central nervous system and cardiovascular system, and other lifestyle-related diseases. Sharing these purpose, our institute has a mission to perform the highest-level basic and applied medical researches for cancer and other diseases for all people.

There are three branches of research activity, (1) positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging, (2) molecular medicine, and (3) telepathology.

PET Imaging

Taking advantage of our ability to synthesize PET probes using in-house cyclotron and automated probe synthesizer, we have been conducting pre-clinical and clinical studies to expand the possibilities of PET imaging and to improve patients' health. Running a PET scanner and a PET/CT scanner, we routinely provide the hospital with PET imaging and diagnosis service. Three researchers are working:

Hiroshi Yamauchi (M.D., Ph.D., vise-director)
Tatsuya Higashi (M.D., Ph.D.)
Shinya Kagawa (pharmacologist)

Molecular Medicine

Ever increasingly accumulating genome information is revolutionizing medicine. Deep understanding of causes of diseases at the level of gene is changing the way of diagnosis and choice of treatments. Our institute provides the hospital with genetic testing service to promote clinical research activities. Besides such collaboration with medical staff, two researchers with background of molecular biology are practicing basic medical research on cancer and psychiatric diseases using animal and cell culture models:

Kazuo Kinoshita (M.D., Ph.D.) [laboratory's web site (external site)ext]
Kenji Tanigaki (M.D., Ph.D.)

Telepathology

Shortage of pathologists is an urgent issues in Japan. To tackle this problem, we are setting up a telepathology network between hospitals with and without pathologists. Telepathology utilizes virtual slide technology, which allows pathologists to view and diagnose microscopic images via computer network. This technology eliminates the need for pathologists to stand by at each hospital and makes it possible to diagnose large number of samples from many hospitals by limited number of pathologists. In addition, histopathological image database can be utilized for standardization of pathological diagnosis and education of young pathologists. Establishing a telepathology system requires many resources such as slide scanner, digital image server, and secure and fast computer communication. Most important requirement is presence of well-trained technicians who are capable of slide preparation at each hospital. Experienced pathologists are also important. Therefore, we are hosting educational activities for pathologists and technicians. Telepathology project is organized by:

Toshiaki Manabe (M.D., Ph.D.)
Director of Shiga Medical Center Research Institute
Director of Pathology Unit, Shiga Medical Center for Adults
Emeritus Professor at the Kyoto University
Auditor of Japanese Society of Pathology