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Treatment for locomotive disorders using deep ultraviolet UV devices

  • School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medicine
  • Program in Integrated Medicine
  • Psychopathology

Yoshihiro Nishida [Associate professor]

Outline of Seeds

In more than 50% of cases in the very elderly aged 75 and older, the main causes that nursing care becomes necessary, are fractures/falls, joint disease, and/or dementia. Sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) and osteoporosis are the primary diseases underlying fractures and falls, with over 8.5 million elderly Japanese affected with the former and 15.0 million affected with the latter. No effective treatments have been developed for sarcopenia, while recommended pharmaceutical treatments for osteoporosis are riddled with problems, including extremely high medical costs, necrosis of the jaw bone, and other pathological symptoms. Add to that the difficulty of getting at least the recommended dose of vitamin D in daily life and the increased risk of falls and burden on caregivers associated with exercise or sun exposure for patients, and the result is that implementing these treatments is frequently difficult.
Our seed idea is to generate deep ultraviolet wavelengths using LED technology discovered by Drs. Akasaki and Amano at the Nagoya University School of Engineering. By applying these advances to medical technologies, we will be able to develop a therapeutic device to effectively produce vitamin D in the body for use as a means of successful prevention and treatment for osteoporosis. The development of a portable LED device capable of emitting deep ultraviolet wavelengths will make it easy for multiple patients to use in a wide variety of settings, including convalescence wards, geriatric healthcare centers, residential treatment facilities, and even individual homes.

Novelty and originality of this research

Because our LED device is capable of emitting deep ultraviolet light at a specified wavelength, and because it makes it possible to limit irradiation to the wavelength that the human body uses to effectively produce vitamin D, it should be able to produce the needed light efficiently with few side effects. Because the device can be made to be portable, it can also be used for treatment in a variety of medical settings. Finally, because the irradiation position can be changed, it can be adjusted so that the impact on skin is kept to a minimum.
Compared to drug therapies used to treat osteoporosis, deep ultraviolet LED treatment devices have the benefit of being able to be used by multiple patients, and because we expect to be able to build them to be highly durable, they also have the advantage of lowering treatment costs. Furthermore, the effects of patient-dependent treatments like exercise or sun exposure vary based on patient compliance. If caregivers or family members are asked to supervise these treatments, it can place a great burden on them, and not practical for clinical use. Meanwhile, our device will represent the first medical treatment device designed to target sarcopenia. Our hope is that it will not only provide benefits for patients themselves, but also alleviate some of the burden on the caregivers and healthcare professionals who work with them.

Application and research area for Industry collaboration

We have managed to make significant strides in AIN crystalline growth technologies aimed at making deep ultraviolet LEDs a reality, putting our partner companies far ahead of the competition and allowing them to successfully produce long-lasting devices with superior luminous efficiency. These deep ultraviolet LEDs can be created in a lineup featuring a variety of wavelengths between 265 and 315 nm, allowing them to produce wavelengths that cannot be achieved with conventional light sources. Wearable deep ultraviolet LED devices that serve as this kind of light source can be used to treat osteoporosis and sarcopenia patients in a variety of healthcare settings and can also be used on multiple patients, since individual treatment times are extremely short. Development of this device can help cut down on medical costs.

Key Takeaway

Our seed idea is development of LED technology invented by Japanese researcher to the technology of the deep ultraviolet field, and will lead to the development of medical devices. This is a groundbreaking idea that treats age-related illnesses caused by vitamin D deficiencies, including osteoporosis and sarcopenia, at low cost.

Keywords

Deep ultraviolet LED, medical devices, sarcopenia, osteoporosis

Technologies

  • Specific wavelengths that effectively increase active form vitamin D in blood

Equipment

  • Lineup of deep ultraviolet LEDs with superior luminous efficiency, featuring a variety of wavelengths between 265 and 315 nm.