Treatment of hepatitis B with Lamivudine, Adefovir and Entecavir and of chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis with interferon is actively being carried out. The total number of patients treated by us (including in associated hospitals) using a combination of Pegylated interferon and ribavirin exceeds 200 cases per year and we can lay claim to being one of the foremost hospitals in Japan in this regard. We are also actively participating in clinical trials of several new drugs and offer the very latest treatment. We carry out a thorough physical assessment and accurate staging before treatment. We are currently carrying out clinical research with the aim of establishing tailor made treatments for various medical conditions, including gene polymorphism. Hereafter, we will continue to announce treatment results as members and colleagues at Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare meetings in which we participate, as well as to specialist journals and continue to be involved in formulating a standard treatment for hepatitis.
Osaka prefecture has the highest number of deaths from liver cancer nationally, with approximately 10% of the total i.e. over 3,000 people a year. This University is working with local administrative authorities in an attempt to bring about the eradication of liver cancer. The Departments of Radiology, Surgery and Hepatology together have the experience of treating over 1,500 cases of liver cancer. Particularly in terms of laparoscopic treatment we are also among the leading hospitals nationally as regards patient numbers and have acquired high-level advanced treatment methods in hepatectomy. As for cancer, we are carrying out research at the genetic level on the incorporation of cellular proliferative potential, telomere, telomerase and HBVDNA and are recently advancing a technique incorporating bioinformatics for comprehensive genetic research. Also in 1995 we were the first in the world to announce the successful suppression of liver cancer using interferon and thereafter were able to obtain empirical proof by participating in research in various institutions. Even in cases where this is no hope of the virus being eliminated, we recommend switching to treatment aimed at suppressing the cancer such as long term interferon treatment in small doses. Clinical research regarding the suppression of cancer must be backed up by a high standard of diagnostic imaging ability and results in treating liver cancer. We always strive to maintain the highest level of diagnostic ability regarding abdominal ultrasound diagnosis and aim to provide early detection of liver cancer by using a combination of CT scans and other diagnostic imaging.
As we approach an age of plenty, the number of overweight people is rapidly increasing and there is a greater focus on the group of disorders closely associated with obesity. In recent years, one of these: metabolic syndrome, (shortened to ‘metabo’ in Japanese) has become a household word but non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (‘metabo’ of the liver, so to speak) is thought to be one example of this and there is a pressing need to shed light on this medical condition. In the Hepatology Department, we are currently working towards shedding light on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its advanced form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), as well as developing new methods of treatment and several projects are underway to this end.
It is still not completely clear why the liver hardens due to an excess of collagen deposits in cases of chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis and whether a liver that has hardened can return to its previous state. Through research on “stellate cells”, which store vitamin A, we aim to address this knotty problem and continue research into the possibility of preserving youthful and healthy organs. Our goal is to disseminate worldwide as much hepatological evidence as we possibly can and are actively involved in joint research with both foreign and national research institutions to this end. Functional analysis of cytoglobin, a fourth globin in mammals, which was discovered in stellate cells in our laboratory in 2001, is also ongoing.