Practical application of artificial intelligence (AI) in medical field is expected to reduce the burden on medical staff, especially physicians, and improve the quality of healthcare we provide. In addition, AI is predicted to become an essential technology in medical field and utilized extensively in the near future. Under the “Industry-Academia Collaboration Project for Human Resource Development to Accelerate AI R&D in the Healthcare Field” program of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), 3 universities in Japan, consisting of Tohoku University (Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture), Hokkaido University (Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture), and Okayama University (Okayama, Okayama Prefecture), have proposed the “Global x Local-leading-edge AI research and development for solving problems in the medical field” program, which was successfully selected for federal funding in 2020. The Medical AI Research and Development Center was established to accelerate the medical AI research and development with “world-class” and “internationally competitive” standards by working closely with the Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, the Graduate School/Faculty of Information Science and Technology and Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Hokkaido University.

The MEXT defined 6 medical areas where AI should be used: genomic medicine, diagnostic imaging assistant, medical diagnosis and treatment, drug development, dementia care, and surgical assistant. We will identify the needs in all 6 areas by collaboration of clinical departments of Hokkaido University Hospital, and implement AI by utilizing the state-of-the-art technologies with companies in Japan and overseas. We aim to develop ready-to-be-used medical AI systems and will actively implement them in society so that they can be broadly adopted in medical field.

Professor of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging,
Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine
Professor of the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology,
Hokkaido University Hospital
Director of the Medical AI Research and Development Center
KUDO Kohsuke, MD, PhD