TOKYO, Japan., November 18, 2008-The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state's stem cell agency, and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) announced today an international collaboration on stem cell research.
The agreement was signed earlier today by JST President Koichi Kitazawa and California Institute for CIRM President Alan Trounson at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
CIRM and the JST are laying the foundation for joint Japan-California research to advance stem cell therapies for treatment of some of today's most debilitating diseases. The agreement will make it easier for researchers in California and Japan to obtain joint funding to broaden the potential pool of expertise that can be applied toward research in a specific area of regenerative medicine. It will also encourage collaboration by developing scientific seminars and conferences and in fostering exchange programs.
"This partnership will bring together some of the best minds in the world to find new therapies and cures that could save lives," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "By working together, these scientists and doctors are providing hope to the millions of people who suffer from deadly and debilitating diseases. The discoveries this collaboration will contribute to will have a great impact for generations to come."
"CIRM's mission requires us to accelerate the field of stem cell research as a whole and in some instances we can do this more effectively through collaborations that involve the best scientific endeavors, regardless of geography" said Dr. Alan Trounson, president of CIRM. "The linking of California and Japanese research excellence in stem cell is a major step forward in our aspiration to find new medical therapies for a wide range of serious diseases and injuries."
"In order to link research on stem cells with the practical application of regenerative medicine for the good of human beings as soon as possible, international cooperation is crucially important," said Dr. Koichi Kitazawa, President of JST. "For this reason, JST wishes to actively cooperate with CIRM going forward."
"This agreement will widen the already robust pipeline for collaboration between scientists in California and Japan," stated CIRM chairman Klein. "These alliances were greatly strengthened in the past year when Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of the Kyoto University agreed to accept a part time appointment at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. CIRM is grateful to Dr. Yamanaka for acting as an intermediary in this agreement."
"The purpose of research into iPS cells is to realize the application of this breakthrough to the creation of new therapies as soon as possible," Said Dr. Yamanaka. "In order to realize that purpose, it is important that researchers compete with each other, but also to cooperate among themselves at the same time. New results and technologies obtained through fair competition should be smoothly shared by everyone across all borders. That would promote even further development in the field of science."
"At this time, as a key step to promote international cooperation in this field, I have proposed cooperation between JST and CIRM," Dr. Yamanaka continued. "I am truly grateful that the agreement has been smoothly made, thanks to the kind understanding and efforts by both parties. Taking this opportunity, I hope that we will soon begin researcher exchanges and joint research projects."
In June, CIRM announced similar agreements with the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium of Canada and the State of Victoria in Australia, and announced a third agreement with the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council last month .
About CIRM CIRM was established in 2005 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities. To date, the CIRM governing board has approved 229 research and facility grants totaling more than $614 million, making CIRM the largest source of funding for human embryonic stem cell research in the world. For more information, please visit www.cirm.ca.gov.
About the JST Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) aims to establish Japan as a nation built on the creativity of science and technology, as a core organization for implementing Japan's science and technology policy in line with the objectives of the Science and Technology Basic Plan. JST promotes many research projects, and one of its outcomes was iPS cells by Professor Shinya Yamanaka (Director of Center for iPS Research and Application / Professor of Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University). For more information, please visit www.jst.go.jp/EN/index.html
Alan Trounson, CIRM President
Alan Trounson, Ph.D., is President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining CIRM in January 2008, Trounson was Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University, where he retains the title of Emeritus Professor. Dr. Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence - 'Australian Stem Cell Centre'.
Trounson held various positions at Monash University beginning in 1977 and was appointed Director of the Centre for Early Human Development in 1985. He was awarded a Personal Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology/Paediatrics in 1991, and in 2003 was awarded a Personal Chair as Professor of Stem Cell Sciences. A Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Trounson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the faculty of medicine at the University of Brussels
He has been a pioneer of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and associated reproductive technologies; the diagnosis of inherited genetic disease in pre-implantation embryos; the discovery and production of human embryonic stem cells and of their ability to be directed into neurones, prostate tissue and respiratory tissue.
Koichi Kitazawa, JST President
1962 Mar. graduated from Nagano High School, Nagano, Japan
1962 Apr. University of Tokyo, Science Course I, admitted
1966 Mar. graduated from University of Tokyo, Department of Chemistry (Degree: Batchelor of Science)
1968 Mar. graduated from University of Tokyo, Department of Industrial Chemistry (Degree: Master of Engineering)
1968 Apr. admitted to Ph. D. course, Department of Industrial Chemistry, University of Tokyo
1969 Sept. admitted to graduate course III, Massachusets Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
1972 Feb. graduated from Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy Massachusets Institute of Technology, (Degree: Doctor of Science)
1972 Feb. DSR staff of Division of Sponsored Research, Ceramics Division, Massachusets Institute of Technology
1973 Jan. Research associate, Department of Synthetic Chemistry, University of Tokyo
1979 Mar. Lecturer, Department of Industrial Chemistry, as above
1980 Jan. Lecturer, Department of Applied physics, as above
1982 Apr. Associate Professor, as above
1987 July Professor, Department of Industrial Chemistry, as above (Department of Applied Chemistry since 1995)
1990 Apr. also Professor of Department of Superconductivity, Graduate School of Engineering
2000 Apr Professor, Department of Advanced Materials School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo
2001 May Vice President, Japan Science and Technology Corporation
2003 Oct Senior Executive-Director, Japan Science and Technology Agency
2007 Oct President, Japan Science and Technology Agency