NTT Research and NCVC to Form Bio Digital Twin Center
National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (NCVC) in Japan and NTT Research MEI Lab Target
Medical and Healthcare Applications
June 9, 2023 – NTT Research, Inc., (NTTR) a division of NTT (TYO:9432), and the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (NCVC) today announced an agreement to jointly launch a Bio Digital Twin Center in Suita, Japan. This initiative extends and expands the scope of a joint agreement on cardiovascular bio digital twin (CV BioDT) research between the two organizations reached in 2020. At NTT Research, this work has involved its Medical & Health Informatics (MEI) Lab. Scientists at the NTTR-NCVC Bio Digital Twin Center intend to create applications by integrating mathematical models, co-developed by the MEI Lab and NCVC, onto the CV BioDT platform advanced by the MEI Lab. Drs. Kazunori Uemura and Keita Saku (M.D., Ph.D.s) will lead the NTTR-NCVC Bio Digital Twin Center, respectively, as laboratory chief and acting director. Dr. Uemura was previously laboratory chief at the NCVC Department of Cardiovascular Dynamics, where Dr. Saku remains laboratory chief and acting director. They will conduct research and development with MEI Lab Director Dr. Joe Alexander (M.D., Ph.D.) and team. This is the NCVC’s first such collaboration with a company partner.
The NTT Research MEI Lab, which aspires to build highly complex digital assets essential to patient care and wellbeing, aims first to realize precision cardiology through development of an organ systems-level CV BioDT. Its work with the NCVC so far has centered on integrated computational models that support multimodal closed-loop interventions for acute myocardial infarction and acute heart failure, as well as the implementation of these models on a CV BioDT platform. Founded in 1977, the NCVC is a semi-independent national institution located in Osaka Prefecture and comprised of one of the best specialized hospitals in the world, (#15 in this ranking, up from #22 last year), an Open Innovation Center and a research institute with more than a dozen departments. The NTTR-NCVC Bio Digital Twin Center will focus on developing applications that support clinical decision making and patient self-care. It notably will provide access to clinical data that will help translate to humans the mathematical models that have been derived and validated using animal experiments.
“This is an exciting expansion of our relationship with the NCVC,” MEI Lab Director Alexander said. “In many ways we’ve accomplished more than we could have foreseen at the start. And while innovation is not something one can prescribe or predict, we anticipate that this new venture will continue to accelerate progress toward our goal of precision medicine, beginning with the cardiovascular bio digital twin.”
Overall progress to date includes development of a mechanistic model of cardiovascular physiology, with interconnected layers for the autonomic nervous systems, kidneys and lungs. Tuning that generic model to create an individual digital twin involves data and mathematics, as MEI Lab Research Scientist Iris Shelly explains in this Upgrade 2023 talk, titled “Probabilistic Estimation of CV Bio DT Parameters.” The two organizations also have delivered an academic paper, “Acute effects of empagliflozin on open-loop baroreflex function and urine glucose excretion in Goto-Kakizaki diabetic rats.” The MEI Lab achieved accepted papers, “Analytical Representation of Four-dimensional Hemodynamics for Drug Therapy Simulation in Acute Heart Failure Treatment” and “Inverse ESPVR Estimation with Singularity Avoidance via Constrained EDPVR Parameter Optimization,” which were co-authored by Dr. Kenji Sunagawa (M.D., Ph.D.), Professor Emeritus in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Kyushu University and ex-director of the Department of Cardiovascular Dynamics at the NCVC Research Institute. Dr. Sunagawa was co-author with MEI Lab scientists of another published paper, “System Design for Optimizing Drug Infusions Using Cardiovascular Space Mapping for Acute Heart Failure,” and he will continue to be engaged with the MEI Lab-NCVC collaboration going forward.
In addition to its work with the NCVC, the MEI Lab has undertaken joint research with the Disease Biophysics Group at the Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to engineer a model of the human heart, elucidate fundamental laws of muscular pumps and apply lessons-learned to a CV Bio DT model; and with the Neuroelectrical Group at the Technical University of Munich to work on three-dimensionally transformable and implantable electrodes.
About NTT Research
NTT Research opened its offices in July 2019 as a new Silicon Valley startup to conduct basic research and advance technologies that promote positive change for humankind. Currently, three labs are housed at NTT Research facilities in Sunnyvale: the Physics and Informatics (PHI) Lab, the Cryptography and Information Security (CIS) Lab and the Medical and Health Informatics (MEI) Lab. The organization aims to upgrade reality in three areas: 1) quantum information, neuroscience and photonics; 2) cryptographic and information security; and 3) medical and health informatics. NTT Research is part of NTT, a global technology and business solutions provider with an annual R&D budget of $3.6 billion.
About the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center
The National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (NCVC) in Japan is a medical center with a hospital and an institute for research and medical training. It is operated under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It is a part of the National Center for Advanced and Specialized Medical Care (National Center) and is one of the six specialized hospitals in Japan. The NCVC is well known as Japan's most advanced medical institution specializing in cardiovascular diseases; it is one of Japan's leading heart transplantation facilities. The Center has three divisions: the Hospital, the Research Institute and the Research and Technology Development Center, called the Open Innovation Center.
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