Osaka Habikino Medical Center (Osaka, Japan)
In 1952, Osaka Habikino Medical Center was established as a central hospital to take care of patients with tuberculosis in Osaka prefecture, and in 1976, it became the core hospital for allergic diseases as well as tuberculosis. Since then, the hospital has been taking care of adult and pediatric patients with intractable asthma and atopic dermatitis and the number of these outpatients is among top five in Japan. In addition to clinical care, the hospital has actively participated in the development of public policies on allergic diseases through continuous work with the community and patient associations, and has provided educational programs for medical students, residents, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists, who would specialize in care for allergic patients. Moreover, the Department of Pediatrics has actively joined the national surveys on genetic analysis of asthma-related genes. One of the prominent contributions in medicine is the discovery of pleural fluid T cells producing a large amount of B cell differentiation factor in patients with tuberculosis. This finding led to the success of cloning the human IL-6 gene (Hirano T. Proc Jpn Acad Ser B, 2010) and clarification of the pathological role of dysregulated IL-6 production in various immune-mediated diseases. In 2011, the research center, “Atopy and Allergy Center (AAC)” was set up to facilitate more the intense cooperation among clinical departments, translational research for allergy and clinical immunology, and educational programs for patients, doctors, and co-medicals.
Osaka Habikino Medical Center, as a core hospital in Osaka prefecture, provides medical care for allergic diseases including asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, food allergy, and anaphylaxis, especially intractable cases. In addition, to intensify and accelerate multidisciplinary scientific and clinical innovations, AAC is working to develop further educational programs on translational research. This consists of four major clinical departments (Dermatology, Medicine for Allergic Diseases, Pediatrics, and Otorhinolaryngology) and center of clinical research, in which doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists are actively involved. The Coordinator of WAO Center of Excellence Application is Dr. Toshio Tanaka, who has accomplished the basic and translational achievements in cytokine research on allergy and clinical immunology. The Director of AAC, Dr. Yoko Kataoka, joined global clinical trials of emerging medicines for refractory atopic dermatitis. She has continued to provide the real-world evidence to improve outcomes of severe atopic dermatitis by not only newly developed agent but also strategic management with patient education. The Chief of Department of Medicine for Allergic Diseases, Dr. Seijiro Minamoto, joined the national project of registry of IgG4-related disease, and he is an expert in cytokine research and takes care of patients with difficult-to-treat asthma. Dr. Makoto Kameda, the Chief of Department of Pediatrics, is the leader of food allergy in Kansai area (Osaka and neighboring prefectures) and established Osaka Food Allergy Challenge Network, which involved the participation of 24 hospitals. He is currently the Director of Japanese Society of Pediatric Clinical Allergy (JSPCA) and puts effort to increase further juvenile allergy educators, co-medical staffs specialized in care of allergic diseases. Dr. Kayoko Kawashima, the Chief of Department of Otorhinolaryngology, is a prominent expert in allergic rhinitis and eosinophilic sinusitis. The number of outpatients who receive allergens (Japanese cedar pollen and house dust mite) immunotherapy is highest in Japan. Dr. Shoji Hashimoto, Director of Clinical Research Center is a specialist in promoting clinical research and he has contributed to improve the environment of the hospital and Osaka prefecture against infectious diseases in collaboration with the local government.
Primary members (front row, l. to r.): Makoto Kameda, Yoko Kataoka, Toshio Tanaka, Seijiro Minamoto and Kayoko Kawashima