Her Majesty Queen Letizia of the Kingdom of Spain visited Keio University's Shinanomachi Campus on April 6, 2017.
Officials, such as the Spanish State Secretary for Research, Development and Innovation Carmen Vela Olmo of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, and staff members of the Spanish embassy accompanied the queen on the tour of Keio University Hospital to take a look at how the university is engaged with the latest in medical care.
First, in Building 3 (South Wing), Dr. Makoto Suematsu, President of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), gave an overview of the agency and explained how Keio University is the main base for the AMED-led Initiative on Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (IRUD), which aims to provide diagnoses to patients with medically unidentified conditions. Then, Director General Tsutomu Takeuchi of Keio University Hospital gave an overview of the medical care provided and clinical research being carried out at the hospital. This was followed by talks from Associate Professor Kunihiro Yamaoka on the team-based approach adopted among the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists at the Immunotherapy Center, and Professor Naohisa Yahagi from the Cancer Center on the use of endoscopes in minimally invasive procedures to treat gastrointestinal cancer. The group then visited the Immunotherapy and Cancer Centers where they saw one of the largest outpatient chemotherapy rooms in Japan as well as clinical laboratories where experts in immunological diseases and cancer cooperate with each other to look for ways to diagnose and treat these conditions.
After that, they went to the Center for Integrated Medical Research where Professor Kenjiro Kosaki of the Center for Medical Genetics explained the work Keio University Hospital has been doing in relation to IRUD. A visit to the genome analysis laboratory then followed. Reports were made on how 30 percent of the 800 patients with rare and undiagnosed diseases have had their conditions diagnosed, including those that led to the discovery of new diseases, as well as how the rate of diagnosis has increased and treatments are being studied as a result of the collaboration with Spanish and other overseas specialists in incurable diseases.
The queen was greatly interested in the research and treatment of cancer and the global efforts made to diagnose and treat incurable diseases. She also highly regarded the approach taken by Keio University that is focused on providing patients with personalized care.
As part of the project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the School of Medicine, Keio University Hospital is currently constructing a new hospital wing, which will serve as a hub for patient-centered, interdisciplinary medical care. This visit by Her Majesty Queen Letizia was highly significant to promote academic and other forms of exchange with Spain, as well as to further expand friendship between the two nations.