Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) and Tokyo Medical and Dental University ("TMDU", President: Yasuyuki Yoshizawa) signed an inter-organizational open innovation agreement effective February 6, 2019, and from the current fiscal year have launched joint research aimed at the social implementation of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based dental diagnosis and treatment support system. The collaboration is based on TMDU's Open Innovation Program, which is an industry-academia collaboration program launched in fiscal 2018, and is the first in the dental field.
As a result of rapid technological advancement, AI is being tested for implementation in a wide variety of industry fields. In the medical field, research is being carried out on the utilization of AI in testing for skin cancer and dementia, as well as for the prediction of heart attacks. Additionally, in the area of genetic analysis and medical image analysis, testing is progressing on the application of AI technology for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
In the dental field, diagnosis is generally carried out through a combination of visual inspections of teeth and gums along with analysis of two-dimensional image data (intraoral imaging, x-ray imaging, etc.). However, in recent years there has been gradual progress in the digitization of diagnostic data, and the utilization of that data for the production of dental prostheses. There is growing interest worldwide in the potential possibilities for the application of cutting-edge IT in the dental field, with research being launched on the use of AI in the design of dental prosthetics and the diagnosis of corrective treatment, as well as the diagnosis of tooth decay and periodontal disease via x-ray analysis.
TMDU has continued to carry out world-leading research in the dental field for many years, and as operator of a dental hospital with one of the largest number of patients in Japan, the university has accumulated a high level of intellectual property and clinical data, and through this collaboration, Mitsui and TMDU will aim to achieve further medical advancements, leading to greater prosperity for society.