Theranostic Device Research Group

Theranostic devices - fusion of therapeutic and diagnostic devices, and regulatory science for innovative medicine

What is theranostic device?

Our mission is to realize 'theranostic' devices - fusion of therapeutic and diagnostic devices.
'Theranstic' is a coinage of 'therapeutic' and 'disgnostic', the fusion of therapy and diadnosis.
Theranostic devices will contribute for the medicine by the advanced effectiveness and safety, as well as their reach to the patient - availability, speed, and easiness of use at the points of care.
Our core technologies are

  • Noninvasive diagnostic and energy therapeutic devices; ultrasound, X-ray, optics, and MRI technologies.
  • Minimally invasive devices; robotics and biomechanics.
  • Technology of evaluation of innovative theranostic devices, the standardization.

Regulatory Science and Engineering

AIST supports medical device review at PMDA (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency = Japan's regulatory body). Four researchers of this group have served as the reviewers at PMDA. Regulatory Science is another core technology of our group.

Research Outline

Ultrasound theranostic devices

Ultrasound is the most handy and affordable imaging modality. And it's not just for imaging – ultrasound can be also used for emitting therapeutic energy, known as high intensity therapeutic ultrasound (HITU).
We developed ultrasound devices to measure various mechanical properties such as the Young's modulus. For HITU devices, we collaborate with companies and universities. And we integrate these to realize compact ultrasound theranostic device. We also investigate for breakthrough technology to provide such devices for lay person.

Ultrasound theranostic devices

Extreme minimally invasive surgical device – needle

Needle insertion is the extreme end of minimally invasive surgery. We currently develop handheld needle assist devices, image guided robotic needle insertion device, and research on microscopic understanding of needle insertion process.
We own knowhow and infrastructure to design, develop, and evaluate the cleaning and sterilization of robotic device with complex, not-decomposable structure.

Extreme minimally invasive surgical device – needle

Intensifying radiotherapy by nano-particle of gold

Nano-particle of gold generates singlet oxygen by applying X-ray. Singlet oxygen has capability of causing necrosis, in particular that of cancer cells. We study its application to radiosurgery. We develop gold nano-particle that effectively intensifies the radiotherapy.
We own infrastructure of an X-ray CT with micron-scale resolution, high accuracy X-ray instruments, and measurement instruments of gold nano-particule inclusion to cell.

Intensifying radiotherapy by nano-particle of gold

in silico / in vitro evaluation

Classic evaluation methods of drugs and medical devices needed animal and human subject experiments. These are expensive, long-term practices that are critical for small business. These rely on heuristic, statistical, inductive approach. There are ethical objections. These are kind of compromise as the best effort of the current technology.
We dream of stopping these experiments. It's not just for ethics - also for competitiveness. We think this is the ultimate goal of the regulatory science.
However, we also realize that stopping these now is not practical. As the first step, in silico evaluation is emerging. We investigated numerical simulation of biomechanics, bio-optics, thermal dynamics, fluid dynamics and acoustic dynamics. We try to integrate these and systems biology – merging chemical equilibrium and biological processes. And we investigate tools that can be easily used by non-numerical experts to perform computations and verification.
Validation is the key of in silico evaluation. We also investigate various in vitro evaluation methods to replace the animal experiments to accelerate the validation.

Other infrastructure and know-hows

  • MRI compatible mechatronics / 2 Testla high precision MRI (for small animal), 3 Tesla whole body MRI (human subject, animal, other artifacts)
  • Biomechanical tests (extension, compression, visco-elastics)
  • Leakage current tests
  • Electrosurgical unit or defibrillator proof
  • Visualization of ultrasound field and temperature change


Name(Official Position)

Research Theme


Koseki, Yoshihiko(Leader)

Needle insertion devices; Science of needle insertion, MRI compatible robotics


Nagata,Yoshihiko(Senior Researcher)


Ultrasonic devices; deformation and tissue property measurement

Nitta, Naotaka, Ph.D.(Senior Researcher)

personal Web site

Ultrasonic devices; elastography, infection control

Misawa, Masaki, Ph.D.(Senior Researcher)

personal Web site

X-ray physics and radiotherapy; Adjuvant effect of nano-particles of gold, X-ray CT for developping countries

Yoshinaka, Kiyoshi, Ph.D.(Senior Researcher)

personal Web site

High intensity therapeutic ultrasound; design optimization and combination with drugs for precision medicine

Washio, Toshikatsu, Ph.D.(Senior Researcher)

personal Web site

Biomechanics and computation; MR elastography, water jet scalpel


Takagi Ryo, Ph.D.(researcher)

Ultrasonic devices: therapeutic monitoring, tissue property measurement, enhancement for the treatment


Hashimura Keisuke, Ph.D.(researcher)

Therapeutic ultrasound and laser: laser biophysics, ultrasonic therapy with sensitizer


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