Recently, MIRI Investigator and Pediatric Neurologist at Floating Hospital for Children Tomo Tarui, MD, visited his native country of Japan for invited talks and development of research collaborations with institutions in Tokyo that have major programs in fetal medicine.
At the 2nd Academic Meeting of the Japanese Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Study Group, Dr. Tarui gave a special lecture entitled, "Utilization of fetal MRI in the prenatal diagnosis of fetal neurological disorders." This talk was an overview of novel research technologies of fetal MRI in the clinical practice of fetal neurology. In Tokyo, a city of 13 million inhabitants with a high percentage of pregnant women with advanced maternal age, there is growing interest in development of validated, standardized fetal MRI protocols and novel fetal neuroimaging technologies to improve prenatal diagnosis and counseling for fetal neurological disorders.
During his stay in Tokyo, Dr. Tarui also presented at the Center for Maternal-Fetal, Neonatal and Reproductive Medicine at the National Center for Child Health and Development (NCCHD), Japan’s national flagship children’s hospital. NCCHD’s Fetal Medicine group has been focusing on the development of novel fetal diagnostic and intervention procedures.
Another stop on Dr. Tarui’s trip was his medical school alma mater, the Keio University School of Medicine, where he gave the Grand Rounds Lecture of the Keio Medical Society to an audience involved in prenatal and pediatric care. The talk, "Current practice and challenges in Fetal Neurology," described current fetal neurology clinical practice and evolving research in the field, including outcomes from his current MIRI research study, "Prenatal diagnosis of fetal brain malformations."
“It was a wonderful and productive trip to Tokyo. I met many experts in fetal medicine and discussed common challenges in the field. This month, the institutional review boards at both Tufts Medical Center and Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo approved international collaboration in advanced fetal neuroimaging and gene expression analyses to develop novel prenatal diagnostic tools and enhance understanding of disease mechanisms in fetuses," said Dr. Tarui.
"Jikei University is one of the major maternal fetal centers in Tokyo. With support from Tokyo city, Jikei University Hospital is building a new Maternal Fetal Center in the heart of Tokyo. This center is expected to play major role in the care of pregnant women in Japan and throughout Asia. Using Jikei University as a hub, we plan to develop additional research collaborations in Tokyo, leveraging relationships we have previously developed with clinician-investigators who have trained in Boston.”