Clinical cancer research gets a boost from Japan's cabinet

Clinical cancer research got a boost in Japan as the cabinet called for faster development of a patient registry from the National Cancer Center and 5 affiliated clinics as part of economic reforms aimed at lifting the country out of decades of deflation, the Japan Times said.

On June 30, the cabinet made the move as part of a clinical innovation network to corral the Agency for Medical Research and Development and Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency to spur research that leads to better drugs and treatment options.

At the same time, Japan hopes to gain insight into the mix of cancer therapies that work best and aid in its cost control efforts, which include a major shift to generics.

Japan, like other countries, has struggled to blend cost savings and innovation. Last week, it issued the Japan Vison: Health Care 2035 by the Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare that showed broad goals, but no specific plans to boost innovation.

Japan Health Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki

A day later the release of the "Basic policies for economic and fiscal management and reform" immediately drew opposition fire for its bet that robust economic growth will boost tax revenues amid the swelling social security costs for the nation's fast-aging population, according to the Japan Times.

Japan's public debt is more than twice GDP, the industrial world's heaviest burden. What's more, the country's budget is a record $812 billion for the fiscal year started April 1 that in no small part is paid for by the central bank announcing it October it would buy ¥80 trillion ($650 billion) of mostly government bonds annually.

Other programs include the launch this year of the "Sakigake" system to fast-track promising candidates through the regulatory process, which the cabinet said was on track, reports said.

At the same time, the government hopes a burst of funding for innovative research in stem cells and other cutting-edge therapies and a push to use more generic drugs works out a magic formula that will pay for a demographic mountain just down the road.

Japan's population will see in one in three people reaching age 65 or older in 2035.

- here's the story from Japan Times