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August 4, 2023
Tokyo - Aug. 4, 2023 - NTT Corporation (NTT) and the National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) have entered into a partnership agreement to develop "Brain Bio-Digital Twin" technology. The collaboration will focus on applying this groundbreaking technology to detect and prevent dementia, depression and other mental illnesses. NTT and NCNP will initially focus on practical applications of this technology that eliminate the need for invasive and costly testing of various brain diseases.
By implementing NTT's Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, the Brain-Bio Digital Twin technology has the potential to truly personalize medicine, helping to prevent medical errors and accelerate drug trials.
The number of people diagnosed with dementia and depression is growing every year. A Japanese government study found that in 2025, approximately 6.75 million people over the age of 65 in the country will have dementia. In addition, the percentage of people diagnosed with depression in Japan has more than doubled since before the pandemic. These conditions are challenging to address because of the lack of systematic medicines and treatment methods, the need for complex and highly invasive testing and the psychological and economic burden on patients.
NCNP, a board member of Japan Health Research Promotion Bureau, aims to overcome these challenges and achieve high-quality medical care, including personalized medicine, though the concept of the Brain Bio-Digital Twin (Figure 1). Specifically, the organization is building a library platform that aggregates and systematically organizes vast amounts of data on mental and nervous system diseases that have been acquired through clinical and research activities. Once the data is collected and analyzed, it can be used to model disease states using AI and ML and to develop an AI brain simulator that predicts brain states and functions of disease states.
In November 2020, NTT proposed the concept of Bio-Digital Twin, which allows users to map not only the brain but also the body and psychology as detailed digital data, to understand the current state of a person's physical and mental conditions. In addition to its experience in conducting research and development of a bio-digital twin for the mind and body, including the heart, NTT can leverage high-level AI and ML processing technology that enables NTT to accelerate research on Brain Bio-Digital Twin and make a significant contribution to the early development of these technologies. In addition, NTT will also build an ecosystem with business partners for commercialization and promotion.
As part of this partnership, NCNP will provide image data such as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and bio samples (Blood, cerebrospinal fluid, tissue samples, genetic information, etc.), which are particularly useful for analysing cranial nerve diseases. NCNP will also provide medical interpretation of the underlying relationship between the results obtained by AI and ML processing and pathology, and necessary clinical implementation.
Figure 1 The Concept of Brain Bio-Digital Twin
The Brain Bio-Digital Twin incorporates various types of body data obtained through medical examinations into a computer as digital data and enables the creation of detailed maps and biological models through digital twin computing technology. The practical application of the Brain Bio-Digital Twin will enable the "twin" to be used for testing, rather than the patient's own brain and nerves.
The following effects can be expected from the practical application of the Brain Bio-Digital Twin.
By bringing together accumulated data and knowledge, NCNP and NTT will begin to build a platform for processing Brain Bio-Digital Twin in FY 2024. In the next three years, the organizations plan to model several brain and nervous system functions and diseases. Subsequently, the organizations will cooperate with pharmaceutical regulations on pressing issues that require the development of effective therapeutic medicines and aim to create a practical system for the early detection and prevention of diseases; for example, accurately predicting an individual's risk for severe side effects before taking medications.
Cabinet Office: Annual Report on the Aging Society: 2017 (Summary)
OECD: A New Benchmark for Mental Health Systems
NTT R&D: Bio-Digital Twin Technology and Medical Business
NTT contributes to a sustainable society through the power of innovation. We are a leading global technology company providing services to consumers and business as a mobile operator, infrastructure, networks, applications, and consulting provider. Our offerings include digital business consulting, managed application services, workplace and cloud solutions, data center and edge computing, all supported by our deep global industry expertise. We are over $95B in revenue and 330,000 employees, with $3.6B in annual R&D investments. Our operations span across 80+ countries and regions, allowing us to serve clients in over 190 of them. We serve over 75% of Fortune Global 100 companies, thousands of other enterprise and government clients and millions of consumers.
The National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), located in the suburb of Tokyo, was established in 1986, as one of the six national centers of Japan. Our activities are characterized by close affiliation of two major Institutes (National Institute of Neuroscience and National Institute of Mental Health) and National Center Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry. This effort is catalyzed by the Translational Medical Center, Integrative Brain Imaging Center, Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Research and other facilities. We contribute to human health and welfare. It offers high level medicine for patients with mental, nervous, muscular, and developmental disorders and aims to improve their quality of life (QOL). It promotes research on prevention and therapy of such disorders and produces highly qualified medical and health care professionals.
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