Endowed Chair

Kampo Medicine (TSUMURA & CO.)

Invention of new therapies by integrating traditional medicine and modern medicine
  • Research based on the concept of "Jinki"from Kampo Medicine
  • Solutions for frailty and sarcopenia in super-aged societies
  • Discover the potential of treating diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological diseases by fusing Eastern and Western Medicine
  • Ketogenic diet as new therapy to combat cancer

Investigating new treatments of fraility and sarcopenia based on the cocept of Kampo Medicine

The general impression of Kampo Medicine (Traditional Japanese Medicine) is that the medicinal effects are mild and can only be prescribed based on experience, not scientific evidence. We believe proper clinical trials are essential to demonstrate the effectiveness in patients. By understanding the theories of Kampo Medicine, we aim to elucidate a new basis of molecular pharmacology and invent new therapies that integrate Eastern and Western Medicine.

Japan’s society is rapidly aging and countermeasures for elderly care are urgently required. Sarcopenia is characterized by a decrease in muscle strength and mass with age. We aim to develop effective new therapies and provide medical assistance that is suitable for the elderly suffering from this condition.

In the concept of Kampo medicine, the energy of life is referred to as kidney-qi, and symptoms associated with ageing such as osteoporosis, hair loss and back pain etc., are recognized as signs of reduced kidney-qi in the body. In Kampo medication Go-sha-jin-ki-Gan (GJG) is intended to improve kidney-qi deficiency. We considered sarcopenia as a symptom of kidney-qi deficiency and examined the effects of GJG on sarcopenia in senescence-accelerated mice. GJG improved the insulin/IGF-1 signal and restored mitochondrial function. We further showed that lowering TNF-α production could reduce sarcopenia (Fig. 1). GJG has been reported to improve not only pain associated with aging, but also peripheral neuropathy after diabetes or anticancer drug treatment. We therefore examined the pain improvement effect of GJG using a mouse sciatic nerve block model. We found that GJG improves chronic neuropathic pain, and that chronic pain is improved by suppressing the production of TNF-α from activated microglia at the dorsal horn of the spinal cord (Fig. 2). Based on these analysis results, we considered that GJG may be a promising drug for the treatment of frailty and sarcopenia, and the preparation for establishing clinical evidence is currently underway.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

In addition, integrated medicine for the treatments of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological diseases is being explored. For the first time in Japan, in 2013 we started clinical research on ketogenic diet therapy for the treatment of cancer.