We announce the launch of a collaborative research on graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) with Professor Kazuo Tsubota’s group, Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine. The aim of this collaborative research is to explore new methods for prevention and treatment of GVHD using a mouse model of GVHD.
The president of R-Tech Ueno, an ophthalmologist, Yukihiko Mashima, MD, PhD commented as follows.“We will launch a collaborative research on GVHD, a complication after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine where I used to work. Dr Yoko Ogawa has analyzed this unique mouse model of GVHD. To improve outcomes for those suffering from acute and chronic GVHD, we plan to develop a new treatment method using this mouse model. In particular, patients with chronic GVHD frequently have dry eyes. A few patients with severe dry eyes also have graying of the eyelashes, eyebrows, and scalp hair. We will be addressing these unmet medical needs while attempting to improve the quality of life of these patients.
(Note 1) Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
GVHD is a general term for the pathological condition that results from the immune attack by donor organs on the recipient organs (organs of the transplant patient). In particular, GVHD is a complication that occurs after blood transfusion and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (bone-marrow transplantation and cord blood transplantation) for the treatment of leukemia and hypoplastic anemia.
Acute GVHD is observed at an early stage after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and it is a syndrome characterized by symptoms including exanthema, jaundice, and diarrhea. It results from the effects of immune reaction of grafted tissue on recipient organs. (Acute GVHD that occurs within 100 days after transplantation is defined as classical acute GVHD).
|Chronic GVHD:||In this condition, clinical symptoms that are not seen in patients with acute GVHD are observed (e.g., abnormalities of skin, scalp, oral, eye, liver, lung, and skeletal system).|
About the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine
The Dry Eye Clinic in this university is specialized in treating severe dry eye associated with Sjögren syndrome. In addition, it handles cases with regional dry eye without systemic complications. Because severe dry eye cases are commonly also associated with systemic illnesses, they work in conjunction with the Departments of Internal Medicine, Oral Surgery, and Dermatology. Severe dry eye, as well as the general status of Sjögren syndrome, Stevens–Johnson syndrome, ocular pemphigoid, and chronic GVHD are monitored over time in this department, and inter-departmental care and treatment is provided to patients. Severe dry eye is characterized by numbers of dry eye cases caused by the immune reaction after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In this hospital, the Department of Ophthalmology has been working together with the Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine for 19 years. The number of cases of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has reached approximately 700 since transplantation was started in the facility. They presently handle about 40 new transplantation cases a year. Chronic GVHD develops as one of the late complications after transplantation and is associated with dry eyes. They provide ophthalmic care to patients before transplantation and predict the time for the development of dry eyes so that an early treatment plan can be chalked out.
About R-Tech Ueno, Ltd.
R-Tech Ueno is a venture company established in September 1989 for the purpose of R&D and marketing of drugs. Under the leadership of the CEO, also a medical doctor, the company is developing new drugs on the theme “Physician-Oriented New Drug Innovation”, targeting ophthalmologic and dermatologic diseases that previously had no effective therapeutic agent.
We aim to become a “global pharmaceutical company specializing in specific fields (ophthalmology and dermatology) and developing and selling pharmaceutical products through the eyes of doctors.” We are promoting the development of new drugs for unmet medical needs for which the government provides recommendations and assistance such as orphan drugs and the drugs in the field of anti-aging (lifestyle drugs).