YOSHIHISA KURACHI, M.D.,Ph.D.,Center Director

Promoting thorough and advanced medical and welfare society is one of the priorities for the Japanese administration. The underlying challenge to this issue, in terms of academic missions, is to develop a new, integrated scientific discipline in the fields of medicine, engineering and informatics, as well as developing relevant human resources, to the level that it satisfies today's social needs. The Center for Advanced Medical Engineering and Informatics (MEI Center) at Osaka University has been established in order to develop innovative educational programs for graduate students including master and PhD courses, as well as developing re-educational programs for working people. These programs are made possible by coordinated supports from the departments across Osaka University and from other educational and research institutes in the local Osaka-Kansai area, in the country, and throughout the world. Through these efforts, we are trying to establish a seamless educational system for engineers and clinicians who play a key role as leaders in relevant fields, based on advanced knowledge in engineering, informatics, medicine, and clinical practices, and also on understanding of multiple aspect of related matters at hand, including social, medical, and patients' needs. The global COE program for "in silico medicine-oriented worldwide open platform" has now launched in 2007. The global COE is a program built on the foundation of practical educational programs for advanced PhD courses developed by MEI Center. It aims to promote the level of education and research programs particularly focused on "physiome and systems biology". The development of physiome and systems biology will change conventional medicine which has been based on experience and expectation into "predictive medicine." The predictive medicine will have the capability to predict the results of certain medical treatment based upon the understanding of dynamic mechanisms and quantitative logic of human physiology and pathology.Predictive medicine will have significant impacts on the promotion of health and welfare. In addition, "in silico" development and testing of new medical treatments and medical equipments will have direct impacts on the improvement of product reliability and safety while improving the efficiency and reducing the cost.
They will also potentially change the future of knowledge-intensive industries. We hope that our global COE project and its integration with other activities of MEI Center will eventually lead to promotion of advanced medical and welfare society.

TAISHIN NOMURA, Ph.D.,Program Leader

Physiome and Systems Biology are integrative science. For the promotion, therefore, a well organized system that can aggregate research processes and related information, strategic partnerships with international alliance, and global transmission of information will play an important role. The world is now aware of the future of this integrative life science. This new integrated research effort will change conventional medicine and life science into predictive medicine and predictive life science. We believe that the databases and simulators of human functions established in our global COE program will expand their applications gradually but steadily into various fields, such as decision-making in medical diagnostics and treatments, prediction of treatment results, and determining policies in the development of new medicines and medical equipment. If the simulators and databases are capable of providing several choices logically and quantitatively based on the mechanisms of human physiology and pathology in decision-making for a clinical diagnosis and treatment or for development of medical equipments, the traditional model of decision-making based solely on experts' experiences will be systematized and evolved into predictive medicine. This process ultimately will optimize decision-making, and will put a cap on the increasing budget for healthcare and development of medicine and medical equipment which has been caused in part by the vast amount of experimental data in the reductionism schema. Being an inseparable part of the creation of such a decision-making system in the intellectual processes concerning human life and welfare is critically important in order to occupy an initiative position at the time when the system is in practice and producing the values. This global COE program is designated to facilitate organizing research and education necessary for such system developments through global collaborations, and for developing specialists who lead our future efforts. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.