UK and Japan partner on treatments for degenerative diseases

14 January 2019 (Last Updated January 14th, 2019 09:45)

Medical researchers in the UK and Japan are set to work together on advancing research aimed at developing treatments for chronic degenerative and incurable diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

UK and Japan partner on treatments for degenerative diseases
Regenerative medicine project is expected to yield new medicines for cancer and to repair damage caused by degenerative conditions. Credit: stevepb.

Medical researchers in the UK and Japan are set to work together on advancing research aimed at developing treatments for chronic degenerative and incurable diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

Under the collaboration, £10m will be allocated to a programme focused on regenerative medicine. The project will be led by the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) in Japan.

The researchers will focus on gaining more insights into critical regenerative processes in human health and translate the findings into tools and technologies for treating patients.

It is expected that the project will yield new medicines for cancer and to repair damage caused due to degenerative conditions such as motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

In addition, businesses in the UK and Japan will partner to develop a new generation of assisted living products and services by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

“Japan will be a crucial partner in the future to develop the next generation of treatments as part of our long term plan for the NHS.”

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “As global leaders, the UK and Japan must work closely together to tackle key emerging issues in healthcare, like the challenges of an ageing population and how we can harness the power of technology to revolutionise care.

“The UK has one of the most advanced health systems in the world and is leading the way in life sciences, genomics and artificial intelligence. Japan will be a crucial partner in the future to develop the next generation of treatments as part of our long term plan for the NHS.”

The alliance will particularly focus on increasing the life expectancy of older people, in line with the NHS long term plan and the modern Industrial Strategy’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge.

This is intended to be achieved by using technology to detect and prevent diseases earlier.

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark added: “This government wants to give older people at least five extra healthy independent years of life by 2035. Our modern Industrial Strategy and its Ageing Society Grand Challenge aims to put the UK at the forefront of new technologies.”