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Push for regenerative medicine R&D

JIJI

An expert panel has proposed that the government focus the nation’s medical research and development on such cutting-edge fields as regenerative medicine and genomic medicine.

Based on a report compiled by the panel, the Abe administration will soon adopt a comprehensive strategy on a future vision for Japan’s medical research at a meeting of its task force for health care strategy.

The task force, made up of all members of the Cabinet, is headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Proposals in the report are expected to also be reflected in a Japanese version of the National Institutes of Health of the United States, an independent administrative agency that serves as a guiding hand for research and development.

The administration plans to introduce related legislation during the ordinary session of the Diet that convenes Friday.

In its report, the expert panel recommends that the government provide seamless support from basic study to clinical application for regenerative medicine and treatments using induced pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of developing into any cell.

The report also proposes sequencing and analyzing the Japanese people’s genome and using the data for treatments and disease prevention.

The panel pointed to a need to strengthen the competitiveness of the Japanese medical equipment and drug industries.

Members also said that the Japanese version of the NIH should comprehensively manage basic research projects so that the projects will lead to clinical trials and help create significant business opportunities.