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Highlight of FY 2014 Activities 3: Healthcare Business Realizing revolutionary healthcare services that employ big data and cloud technologies

Rapid economic progress and changes in people’s lifestyles have led to a global change in disease structure, and health risks from lifestyle-related diseases are on the increase. According to international collaborative research conducted by institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, the diseases that cause the biggest epidemiological burden and rob people of their healthy lives, are shifting from infectious diseases to lifestyle-related diseases over the last 20 years*1. Furthermore, according to the WHO’s study, the worldwide number of deaths from lifestyle-related diseases is forecast to reach 39 million (68% of the total number of deaths) in 2015, and 51 million (74% of the total number of deaths) in 2030*2.

Due to such shifts in disease structure, as well as the aging population, managing the globally growing financial burden of medical costs and the building of a society-level system to detect the signs of disease have become major issues.

  • *1 Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, The Lancet
  • *2 Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030, WHO

Overview Highlight 3: Healthcare Business (PDF:2.0MB)

Global social issues and their solutions

Diseases with a high epidemiological burden (1990 and 2010)

Diseases with a high epidemiological burden (1990 and 2010)

Probability of death from lifestyle-related diseases (persons in their 30s to 70s)

Probability of death from lifestyle-related diseases (persons in their 30s to 70s)

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Toshiba Group’s problem-solving approach

The objective of Toshiba’s Healthcare Business

Toshiba is promoting its healthcare business in four areas: Disease prevention, medical diagnosis and treatment, prognosis and nursing, and health promotion. The goal is to create a society where everyone can lead healthy, active lives. Rather than limiting our vision to individual items of medical equipment or services, our objective is a virtuous cycle in healthcare that protects the health of individuals, societies and future generations by collecting, storing and analyzing information about each individual’s healthcare.

Enhancing and enlarging the healthcare business

In order to enhance our healthcare business in order to realize the society we envision, in July 2014 we consolidated related business departments to form an in-house company, called the “Healthcare Company.” We have also established R&D sites worldwide such as the Healthcare Technology Center (Kawasaki, Japan); we also conduct collaborative research with universities and research institutes, such as our partnership with Johns Hopkins University in the USA (research and development of technology to support treatment plans for tumors using big data).

An overview of Toshiba’s healthcare business, which will realize a virtuous healthcare cycle (Includes technology currently in development)

An overview of Toshiba’s healthcare business, which will realize a virtuous healthcare cycle (Includes technology currently in development)
  • *1 CT: Computer Tomography
  • *2 MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • *3 DNA examination: Examination to read genetic information to find out genetic inclinations, such as physical constitution
  • *4 Social network for making audio postings: A social networking service for various professions related to in-home healthcare and nursing care
  • *5 PM2.5: Microfine particulate matter of particle diameter 2.5‘m or less

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INDEXToshiba’s performance index for enlarging its healthcare business

  • With a view to enhancing and enlarging its healthcare business, Toshiba is planning to increase the number of its healthcare R&D staff to about 3,800 in FY2016, 20% more than the figure for FY2014.

    The number of R&D staff

    FY 2014 Result 3,000

    FY 2016 Target 3,800

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ActivityActivities with the objective of data-based disease prevention and personalized treatment

Using data to predict disease

There are three factors at play regarding the development of diseases: environmental factors such as air and water; lifestyle factors such as exercise, food and sleep; and genetic factors.

To assess lifestyle factors accurately, sensing technology that can collect information about individual’s day-to-day life (make a lifelog) without him or her having to consciously do anything, is an effective supplement to self-reporting through traditional medical questionnaires. Furthermore, by combining data on lifestyle and genetic factors, it will be possible to predict people’s future health risks. By encouraging individuals to change their lifestyles or to see a doctor regularly, such methods may contribute to the prevention or early detection of diseases.

A blueprint for disease prevention and personalized treatment using data

A blueprint for disease prevention and personalized treatment using data

Big data research for healthcare: collaborative research with Tohoku University

Since our entering into an agreement with Tohoku University in August 2013, Toshiba has been conducting big data research for healthcare together with the COI Tohoku site*1. This research involves integrating Toshiba’s sensing and cloud technologies with the know-how that Tohoku University has gained from health sciences research, in order to enable health management based on individuals’ lifestyles and genome information.

In November 2014, as a result of research*2 conducted in cooperation with the Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo), Toshiba confirmed the practicability of Japonica Array™*3 (ver. 1), a genome analysis tool which contains in a single chip genome information specific to the Japanese people. It is hoped that the Japonica Array™ will be utilized in many cohort studies*4 from now on, and contribute to realizing personalized treatment and prevention in Japan.

  • *1 Adopted in October 2013. The Tohoku site of the Center of Innovation (COI) Program, a publicly offered R&D program run by the Japan Science and Technology Agency
  • *2 The commercialization of personalized treatment and prevention using genome information, with a view to popularizing it
  • *3 Japonica Array is a trademark of TOHOKU University
  • *4 The analytic epidemiology method. Observational research studying the association between the cause and the onset of a disease
Japonica Array™

Japonica Array™

Japonica Array™ was developed as a COI STREAM project at COI sites, and is based on the whole-genome reference panel developed by ToMMo. It contains approximately 675,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms*4 (SNPs) with a base sequence common among Japanese, making it possible to genotype a Japanese person in a short time.

  • *4 A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, pronounced snip) is a genomic base sequence variation occurring in over 1% of a population in which a single nucleotide differs between members of a biological species or paired chromosomes.

VOICE Developing arrays which promote personalized prevention and treatment

Takuzo Takayama Senior Manager Life Science Business Dept. Healthcare Medical Business Promotion Div. Healthcare Company Toshiba Corporation

Takuzo TakayamaSenior Manager
Life Science Business Dept.
Healthcare Medical Business Promotion Div.
Healthcare Company
Toshiba Corporation

Japonica Array™ is a research tool that reveals the causal relationship between diseases and genes. We provide analytic services employing it to research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations. Toshiba plans to continue research with the COI Tohoku site, and develop Ethnic Arrays which contain single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) particular to each ethnic group, and arrays designed for specific diseases such as diabetes. We are working on these technologies in the hope that they will be used in the future as diagnostic tools in clinical practice, and contribute to the spread and advancement of personalized prevention and treatment.

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Medium- to Long-Term VisionImplementation of a healthcare service using big data

Building a healthcare service which uses big data and cloud technologies

The conception of healthcare big data, which compiles personal health records (PHR)*1 from data such as genome information, data on vitals, mental state and medical conditions, as well as lifelogs, is gathering worldwide attention as a revolutionary medical service. Such data can be used not only for individuals’ health management, but also as a social system based on personalized prevention and treatment.

As a member of the Council on Competitiveness-Nippon’s (COCN*2) research group based on health management through health checks and personalized data, Toshiba is also involved in gathering PHR data, batch management of cloud data, and in putting forward policy recommendations to establish primary, secondary and tertiary uses of the amassed big data as a social system and a business model.

Through these activities, Toshiba will contribute to the realization of disease prevention and personalized treatment that utilizes healthcare big data.

  • *1 Lifelong records of individuals’ healthcare information, such as consultation data from medical institutions, medical check-up results, lifelogs containing information such as exercise logs and lifestyle habits, and genetic data such as genome information
  • *2 Council on Competitiveness-Nippon

Utilizing personal lifelong healthcare data

Utilizing personal lifelong healthcare data

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ViewpointEthical considerations and proper personnel training

When handling genetic information, there are risks that such data will lead to ethical problems like individuals facing discrimination in situations such as getting an insurance, employment, and marriage. At Toshiba, in order to ensure that we can prevent such risks, we set handling procedures regarding the provision of an individual’s genetic data, and for research institutes that analyze the data.

In addition to establishing an Ethical Review Board in Toshiba, when it comes to gathering data for analysis, we hold an interview at the research institute providing the data, and explain to the provider of the genome specimen about genome information analysis. We also confirm at the interview that the provider has obtained informed consent, and been assessed by the Ethical Review Board of the research institute.

Furthermore, when educating personnel for research, analysis, or treatment at the COI Tohoku site, we emphasize the understanding of the ethical issues surrounding genome analysis, so as to pave the way for widespread use of genomics-based, personalized prevention and treatment.

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