2. Department
  3. Rheumatology



Our department specializes in the treatment of connective tissue diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatological conditions are often referred to as “autoimmune diseases”. The human body is equipped with an immune system that works to protect the body from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. When this immune system misidentifies your own body as something harmful, your own body can become the target and become inflamed. In rare cases, the condition can be life-threatening. This is known as the autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases may either affect a single organ or organ system throughout the entire body. In Japan, systemic autoimmune diseases are collectively called “connective tissue disease.” Connective tissue disease is classified into many types based on the characteristics of the illness, but the most common connective tissue we see is rheumatoid arthritis.


We Provide Reliable Medical Care based on the Latest Research

Standards for the treatment of connective tissue disease have changed greatly over the last 10 to 20 years, and our department strives to provide safe, reliable medical care based on the latest research. 
Steroids, a naturally occurring hormone produced by the organ called the adrenal gland, have the property of suppressing immunity, and have long been used as virtually the “only card to play” in the treatment of arthritis and connective tissue disease in the past. Although many lives have been saved by steroid medications, long-term use of these drugs is known to cause side effects such as osteoporosis and diabetes.

In the 1990’s, new drugs with immunosuppressive properties, such as methotrexate, were developed. In the 2000’s, newer biological treatments became available, as later research elucidated the mechanism of immunity in the human body. The suppression of the immune system now comprises the main axis of our treatment and revolutionized the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

3.Our Strengths

We Value Teamwork

Since connective tissue disease is a disease that can potentially lead to symptoms affecting the whole body, collaboration with other specialist physicians is often essential. Our department is a division of a large general hospital, enabling us to respond to the diverse issues and needs of patients through this type of collaboration. In addition, many of our patients undergo treatment for extended periods of time, hence we would like to establish close collaboration with physicians in the primary care.

We Are Able to Offer Complementary Therapies to our Standard Treatments

Some patients feel unwell despite the fact that there are no signs of worsening of their illness found on the tests. This may mean that the medical knowledge is not yet well understood or the testing is not able to pick up those subtle changes. In those cases, change in immunosuppressive therapies may not be suitable and we may complement your treatments with some Japanese traditional medicine instead.
In our department, patients can be given the option of treatment by specialists in Japanese traditional medicine certified by the Japan Society for Oriental Medicine.

We Actively Participate in Clinical Trials for the Benefit of Our Patients

Our department actively undertakes clinical trials for the benefit of future patients suffering from rheumatological diseases. This series of verification tasks is called a clinical trial, and because massive amounts of time and effort are required, clinical trials are only conducted at select medical institutions such as our hospital.

In recent years, advances in the study and research on the mechanisms of immunity have progressed at remarkable speed. As a result, drugs with completely different properties from previous drugs, have been successively developed. However, in order for these drugs to be used in an actual clinical setting, the safety and efficacy of the drugs must be scientifically demonstrated. Patients who are willing to cooperate will be recruited, and those who meet the conditions will be asked to either take the drug or allocated to placebo and the resultant data will be collected. Once it has been confirmed with the data that the new drug is safe and its efficacy exceeds the placebo, the new drug can be made available to wider number of patients.

Message for Our Patients

The advance in treatment has significantly improved the prognosis of many connective tissue diseases. We are now in an era where many patients with connective tissue diseases enjoy life as normal and live their life to the fullest.
In the past, patients with arthritis or connective tissue disease were said to have a considerably shorter average lifespan compared with individuals without the disease and the diseases were labelled as intractable diseases. For this reason, most patients diagnosed with connective tissue disease are understandably worried and anxious about having the diagnosis of connective tissue diseases. In this department, we seek to provide treatment not only for the diseases but also to alleviate the anxiety brought on by the diseases.