Tokyo Institute signs joint research pact with Astellas Pharma
Tokyo Institute of Technology said it has signed a joint research agreement with Astellas Pharma for drug discovery research utilizing Tokyo-Tech’s TSUBNAME 2.0 supercomputer to efficiently discover candidates for treating diseases caused by protozoan parasites.
This joint research aims at contributing drug discovery to treat diseases caused by protozoan parasites like the leishmaniasis, change disease and the sleeping sickness in NTDs.
Under this agreement, the research group led by Masakazu Sekijima, associate professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center, Tokyo-Tech and Astellas will cooperate in the drug discovery to treat the diseases caused by protozoan parasites.
The research will be conducted in 2 steps. In the first step, data mining of public information like the patents and published articles will be carried out to obtain useful and effective knowledge about the drug discovery for treating diseases caused by the protozoan parasites. In the second step, in-silico screening will be performed to identify the compounds which are predicted to have anti-protozoan activities.
Tokyo-Tech boasts Japan’s will assume the responsibility for data mining and for in-silico screening calculations of the commercially available compounds.
Astellas will be responsible to prepare the input data for data mining, selecting, and listing compounds to be evaluated based on the in-silico screening calculations, thereby implementing the efficient drug discovery in a short span of time. The aim of their joint research effort is to contribute to improve the global public health issues.
Tokyo Institute of Technology was established as Tokyo-Technical School in 1881. It is the largest national university of science and technology in Japan with a 130 year history. Astellas Pharma is a Japanese pharmaceutical company formed from the merger of Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co Ltd and Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!