In recent years, it has been demonstrated that biological reaction of “inflammation” is associated with various chronic disorders such as neurological, digestive, metabolic, and cancer diseases. In Japan, development of inflammation research is potentially important for the improvement of nations’ health and medicines, especially for elderly. For example, inflammation research may bring us a progress of preventive medical care in early life, surviving intractable disease, extension of healthy life expectancy, which are all important for aging society.
Life Science Unit at JST-CRDS extracted biological processes of chronic inflammation as an important future research initiative in life science field and then carried out international survey of research trend and the standard of Japanese researchers, by data analyses and interviews. As a result we found out following facts.
1. In United States, a nation-wide research initiative of inflammation has not fully established, but the significance of this research field is well recognized by the science policy makers and funding agencies. Therefore the inflammation research-related investment has been progressed for fundamental technology, combining multi research fields associated with inflammation, and human resource development.
2. In United Kingdom, the government has established national initiative of inflammation research based on the survey of nations’ health and concentrated the investment for the establishment of core-research institutes as well as the research project per se.
3. In European countries, Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) of European Commission addressed inflammation research as one of strategic research programs of Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI). They invest in biomarker and bioimaging technology development for drug discovery. Based on the contracted budget of FP7, Germany shows the most powerful priority followed by Sweden and Austria.
4. According to research program, there are two strategies. The first one, comprehensive research program covers every existing research field such as immunology, molecular biology, cancer and so on. On the other hand, several industrial research center in United States and national institutions in United Kingdom progress research programs for specific disease such as Alzheimer disease, asthma, and leukemia across various research fields of molecular, cells, animal model, and systems biology.
Based on the above factors, we would propose following points.
1. In the views of demographics of elderly and research budget, the strategy of inflammation research in Japan should be referred to the one in United Kingdom and European countries like Germany. It is also recommended to refer well-invested research topics by National Institutes of Health in United States and FP7.
2. For suitable implementation of inflammation research toward the year of 2050, a peak period of aging society, it is recommended to invest in the research focusing on the diseases with higher mortality rate or more serious damages to the society and economics in Japan. In future view, the investment in human resource development across various disciplines to develop comprehensive research project for breaking ground is also recommended.