The leading cause of death in Japan is cancer. While advances in treatment are leading to more lives saved, 2.6% of all cancer patients or about 500,000 sufferers worldwide are not receiving treatment. They give up their treatment because the physical and financial tolls are too onerous and/or an effective treatment method is unavailable.
The therapeutic nanodevices being developed by MediGear International are trying to bring a ray of hope to the neglected cancer patients, known as “cancer refugees.
Increased cancer cell reproduction necessitates rapid growth of blood vessels that the cells can draw oxygen and nutrients from, leading to gaps of the tumor vessels. MediGear International’s treatment uses nanodevices that have been modified for these blood vessels’ gaps. After the nanodevices are injected via a catheter, they absorb the water that is inside the cancer cells to form a gel that cuts off the supply of oxygen and nutrients coming from the blood vessels. Starved of essentials, the cells die.
The treatment’s patient-first nature is a key component. It reduces the toll on the patients in many ways. Made from plant-derived materials, the nanodevices are organically broken down and excreted once the cancer cells die. This method reduces risk of side effects and it can be used in combination with conventional treatment methods because it is not drug-based.
Takeo Tanaka, the founder of MediGear International Corporation, joined Kobe Steel, Ltd. after graduation from a graduate school. Although initially an engineer assigned to the company’s research laboratory, he was always interested in management. A secondment to JETRO led to participation in a large-scale project in Sydney. Upon his return to Japan, he helped launch many new ventures, both domestic and international, gaining experience in business and management.
After setting out independently in 1994, Tanaka started a Silicon Valley company that specialized in big data processing. Although the technology was planned for military use, he noticed its potential in diagnostic imaging and other medical uses. He went back to graduate school to learn more about life science and biology.
What drives Mr. Tanaka stoically toward his goal is his strong curiosity, concentration, and a strong sense of mission to save as many suffering patients as possible, just like his wife who passed away from a rare form of cancer.
Tanaka has taken on many challenges, and in the latest, he envisions a future in which “IVR will be established throughout the world by 2033.” As such, he is organizing the projected advances in technology and social changes into several steps and setting targets. The development of these nanodevices is only a single step in a significant quest to establish a new diagnostic system that merges the monitoring technology and the treatment methods of 2033. One of the first goals is to have the company listed by 2026, and it is toward this and other goals that Tanaka forges ahead.