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    Advanced Biobank System for Next Generation Medicine

    The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project is pursuing following studies:Activities01

    -Long-term health survey program with local residents as the subject
    -Establishment and operation of large scale biobank that consolidates both biological specimens and health-related information
    -Analysis of biological specimens and information amassed by the biobank using sophisticated technology

    Through these activities, The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project is enhancing the progression of future-oriented health care and cutting-edge research, while contributing to reconstruction efforts.

     

    Long-term Health Survey ProgramActivity04

    The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project receives genetic information from a total of 150,000 residents giving their consent, and conducts a long-term follow-up on their health-related information.
    The Tohoku Medical Megabank Project conducts two health study programs: the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study (TMM CommCohort Study) and the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study (BirThree Cohort Study). A cohort study is where information on the lifestyle habits of a large group of people are collected and studied to understand how their habits and the environment correlate with disease.

     

    TMM CommCohort Study
    Area All of Miyagi Prefecture; areas of Iwate Prefecture centering on municipalities along the Pacific coast
    Recruiting goal Approximately 80,000 people (Miyagi Prefecture 50,000+; Iwate Prefecture about 30,000)
    Participants Men and women 20 aged years old or older residing in Miyagi Prefecture and the subject areas in Iwate Prefecture
    Recruitment Recruitment at specific medical checkup sites within the municipalities in the study area
    Visiting Community Support Centers and satellite sites
    Requested cooperation Filling out the questionnaire; providing various biological specimens (including specimens for genetic information analysis purposes); cooperating with  follow-up studies
    TMM BirThree Cohort Study
    Area All of Miyagi Prefecture
    Recruiting goal Approximately 70,000 people
    Participants Pregnant women residing in the subject areas and are scheduled to give birth there; relatives of these women
    Recruitment Recruitment at maternity facilities in the subject areas Visiting Community Support Centers (for relatives)
    Requested cooperation Filling out the questionnaire; providing various biological specimens (including specimens for genetic information analysis purposes); cooperating with  follow-up studies

     

    Besides the BirThree Cohort Study, ToMMo also conducts a health study program whose subjects are public elementary and junior high school students in certain municipalities in Miyagi Prefecture, titled the ToMMo Child Health Study. Since 2012, questionnaires have been sent out to more than 40,000 students.
    The health-related data obtained by the long-term health survey program are provided to local governments and other appropriate institutions for use in health care administration and other relevant activities.
    Community Support Centers have been established as bases for long-term health studies. They support activities for people participating in the studies, and it is crucial for them to have support and exchanges with community members.

    Building and Operating a Biobank

    Our biobank is collecting and storing de-identified biological specimens including DNA, plasma and serum from blood and corresponding health related and clinical information obtained from the participants of cohort studies. Researchers from various institutions will use those resources for health-related studies, after their research applications are approved.

    Activity02

    Analysis of the Biobank Information

    ToMMo is conducting a whole genomic analysis from some of the participants of the cohort studies. ToMMo was the first in Japan to complete the whole genomic analysis of 1,000 people of participants in November 2013, and continues in order to increase their analysis to several thousands of people. This is the first case in the world where a three-digit specimens of a national population with a high level of genetic uniformity was subject to high-precision analysis by a single institution using a single method. The analysis gave hope that completely new research outcomes will follow. The short-term goal is to detect diseases resulting from DNA mutations occurring in 1 out of 100 persons. ToMMo also aims to identify the causes of diseases that are the composite result of genetic and environmental factors. It hopes to establish prevention and treatment methods for these by combining genetic information with the results of from analyses of continuous questionnaire studies, MRI exam, and proteins and metabolites.

    Related Links

    -Health surveillance of the brain and psychological state program with MRI
    -Child Health Study
    -Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology
    -Department of Biobank
    -Department of Integrative Genomics
    -Department of Health Record Informatics
    -Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization high-accuracy whole genome sequencing of 1,000 healthy Japanese people (Press Release, 2013/11/29)
    -Findings from the FY2013 Long-term Community Child Health Study (Press Release, 2014/01/17)
    -The first round of aggregate findings from the community resident cohort study in the first year (Press Release, 2014/02/27)
    -Partial release of data from Tohoku Medical Megabank Project's Whole Genome Reference Panel (Press Release, 2014/08/29)
    -Rare variant discovery by deep whole-genome sequencing of 1,070 Japanese individuals (Press Release, 2015/08/21)
    -Psychological Consequences Remain Profound Among Coastal Communities Devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake (Press Release, 2015/09/01)
    -Depressive symptoms continue to be higher in coastal areas than in inland areas 3 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake (Press Release, 2016/03/16)
    -ToMMo completed the ToMMo Child Health Study in Miyagi Prefecture during a period of four years after the Great East Earthquake (Press Release, 2016/04/05)
    -Genetic Diversity of Enzymes Alters Metabolic Individuality (Press Release, 2016/09/02)
    -50,000 people have participated in the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study in Miyagi Prefecture (News, 2015/11/04)
    -Announcement: Access for the locations and allele frequencies of all SNVs in the Whole Genome Reference Panel (News, 2015/12/10)
    -Release of Integrated Database of Tohoku Medical Megabank dbTMM (News, 2016/04/23)
    -Release of locations and allele frequencies of all SNVs in whole genome sequences of 2,049 Japanese individuals (News, 2016/06/21)
    -Announcing release of JRG v1 (News, 2016/08/25)
    -We enlarged Japanese Multi Omics Reference Panel "jMorp", 1,008 people Metabolome data are now online (News, 2016/09/12)

    Medical Support for Disaster-stricken Areas

    System of Dispatching Physicians on a Rotation Basis

    ToMMo, jointly with Tohoku University Hospital and the Tohoku University School of Medicine, has created a system to dispatch physicians on a rotating basis, which connects communities with a university. ToMMo calls these physicians ToMMo Clinical Fellows (TCF). TCFs build their careers by alternating between providing community medical care in the disaster areas, and concentrating on medical technology training and research. The Center for Reconstruction of Community Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital oversees and operates the system. As of December 31, 2014, more than 50 doctors were posted to medical institutions in the local communities, mainly along the Pacific coast.

    Activity03

    Systematic Digitization and Networking of Medical Information

    While some medical care institutions lost their records to the tsunami during the Great East Japan Earthquake, medical care institutions which used long-distance storage services for medical records over electronic networks were able to protect their chart histories. This demonstrates the effectiveness of medical care information networks during disasters. ToMMo is embarking on constructing a disaster-resistant medical care information network covering medical sites throughout Miyagi Prefecture. That network will be built in cooperation with the Miyagi Medical and Welfare Information Network (MMWINTM), whose operation brings together all the relevant institutions in Miyagi Prefecture.
    * "MMWIN" is a trademark of the Miyagi Medical and Welfare Information Network.

    Related Links

    -Department of Community Medical Supports
    -Department of Health Record Informatics
    -Tohoku University promotes community health service development in the Tohoku region through the ToMMo Clinical Fellowship (News, 2012/10/01)

     

    Special Educational Programs for Personalized Medicine

    In this program, ToMMo develops human resources that support and promote community health care and medical care by amassing medical knowledge and techniques.
    Future medical care will increasingly take into account the individual's physical makeup and lifestyle habits. This program provides a venue for educating and training the large number of specialists needed to achieve that level of care.

    Genome Medical Research Coordinator (GMRC)
    ToMMo newly established an education and training course with its own original curriculum in 2012, and even now still certifies genome medical research coordinators. ToMMo GMRCs are also recommended to be certified by the Japanese Board of GMRC (Genomics and Medical Research Coordinator) established by a collaboration with Japan Society of Human Genetics and Japan Epidemiological Association. As of March 2015, over 150 ToMMo GMRCs have also certified by the Japanese Board of GMRC.

    Genetic Counselor
    In April 2013, a genetic counseling course was established in the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine for developing Genetic Counselors. The course is provided by ToMMo teaching staff. In March, 2015, the first two graduate students in Tohoku area, have finished their master's Program. They will start their career as Certified Genetic Counselor.

    Clinical genetics medical specialist
    ToMMo encourages the development and certification of clinical genetics medical specialists through genetic medicine seminars and other activities. As of March 2015, seven Board-certified clinical geneticists work for ToMMo.

    Data managers, medical clerks, medical information technicians

    Bioinformatics scientists, bioinformaticians

    Science communicators
    ToMMo also operates a variety of educational courses in collaboration with the School of Public Health of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine.

    Related Links

    -Department of Education and Training