In the Next-generation Medical Care exhibition, we introduced the future of medical care achieved via the evolution of ICT, illustrated with some of our initiatives in the area.
An ICT evolution-based transformation: from treatment to supporting
Fujitsu Forum Tokyo 2014 is Fujitsu’s largest annual event and was held on May 15-16, 2014, at Tokyo International Forum in the city’s Yurakucho district.
ICT has been introduced in the field of medicine via medical care information systems, a representative example of which is electronic medical records. And now, a further ICT evolution is about to transform medical care from "treatment medicine," which cures illness, to the realization of new medical approaches—such as personalized medicine—and "supportive medicine" that assists patients in their everyday lives.
For example, in a joint study with Nagoya University Hospital, we analyze at high speed a massive amount of patient health records that have been amassed to date. In this ongoing study, based on the assumption that a previously unknown significant side effect to a drug had been found, similar cases are retrieved from an enormous amount of medical data using big data analysis to look for similar patients who suffered that side effect in order to minimize the risk.
In another project using big data analysis, the incident factors and necessity of nursing care are analyzed, including unstructured data, in order to optimize the system for the provision of nursing care. Technological development for the use of collections of data is currently underway as described above.
In the field of biotechnology, a study of the clinical use of genetic data is in progress. ICT will support practical medical applications on a number of fronts, including preemptive medical care which identifies diseases affected by genetic factors to minimize their onset, controlling the effects of drugs and their side effects, and personalized medicine provided via gene therapy.
Accelerating partnerships with diverse players in different fields
We will accelerate our cross-industry efforts by organically linking medical institutions, universities, and pharmaceutical companies—all of which have carried out research and development separately up until now—in areas such as regenerative medicine and new drug development, as well as nursing care and general health information.
For example, we network together the fields of medical care and drug making, which have separately introduced ICT, to develop a revolutionary platform to support pharmaceutical development. Moreover, we also are committed to contribute to the resolution of such social issues as "drug lag" and "device lag" by expanding this platform to the field of medical devices.
As described above, the use of ICT in the field of medical care is advancing. As a representative example, we introduce a case study of new drug development using a supercomputer below.
Creating new drugs with ICT! Japan's biggest cloud service for drug discovery
The term "cloud service for drug discovery" refers to a cloud-based system for new drug development.
Development of a new drug requires a massive amount of computation. Therefore, it is usually done by supercomputer. By providing the processing capacity of supercomputer via the cloud, it has become possible to use large-scale computing environments that previously were difficult to build within a university or a corporate lab due to power restrictions and space limitations.
This environment now allows users to accurately predict the effectiveness of a drug by using a simulation based on massive amount of computation, and thus offers a research environment that can lead to the development of groundbreaking new drugs.
In fact, the University of Tokyo has been using this, Japan's biggest cloud service for new drug development. In the exhibition booth, a strange, organism-like object could be seen spinning on a computer screen. This was the interaction between a target protein of a drug and a simulated drug candidate substance, visualized using the cloud service for drug discovery.
New drug development contributes greatly to the advancement of medical care. By making the enormous computational power required for drug discovery available via the cloud, research institutes that could not afford supercomputers can now engage in new drug development.
The medical usage of ICT started with electronic medical records, and is now spreading to medical care, nursing care, and everyday general health information. And now, it is evolving into an ICT platform for next-generation medical care which supports new approaches based on technologies such as big data and gene information. In the Next-generation Medical Care exhibition, visitor expectations of the future grew as they experienced how vital ICT is to the advancement of medical care.