cancer research in japan
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Here, we examine the role of the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) when it comes to the field of cancer research in Japan, including basic, clinical and translational

The Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) is the longest-running such organisation dedicated to cancer research in Japan. The organisation is concerned with all elements of cancer research, including basic, clinical and translational research into the aetiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The JCA is based in Based in Shinjuku, Tokyo and was founded in 1941, and I gather they have no less than 16,000 members. (1)

In addition, when it comes to the activities of the JCA, we know that they host an Annual Meeting and other academic meetings, as well as lectures that are open to the public and the publishing of a journal.

On the JCA’s website, we learn that the specialist areas of their members is vast and includes: Epidemiology, organic chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular oncology, genomic science, genomic instability, invasion and metastasis, angiogenesis, biophysics, cell biology, immunology, structural biology, experimental pathology, experimental animals and genetically engineered animals, endocrinology, pharmacology and pharmacy, neuro-oncology, head and neck cancer, cancer of the digestive organs, cancer of the liver, lung cancer, breast cancer, gynaecological and urological cancers, skin cancer, leukaemia and lymphoma, endocrine cancer, cancers of the bone and soft tissue, paediatric cancer, diagnostics, proteomics, preventive medicine, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy, radiotherapy and regenerative medicine, psychotherapy and therapy for advanced cancer. (2)

We find out that scientific lecture meetings on cancer began with the 1st Scientific Convention held by the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in April 1908 when the foundation was established and after that, meetings were held every year. Fast forward to about 1935, when it is noted that the opinion was raised among members of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research and other researchers that: “We think cancer research has advanced rapidly in recent years, so we should establish an association absolutely unrelated to the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research that has a central presence in cancer research in Japan and takes the path of promoting further research based on the cooperation of scholars nationwide”.

Following on from this, Mataro Nagayo, President of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research made a proposal and the society investigated the new establishment of the Japanese Cancer Association at the 24th meeting of the Board of Directors held during March 1940. All members present unanimously resolved to establish a new association based on that proposal following those deliberations, which included the fact that the association shall be known as The Japanese Cancer Association and: “A committee shall be organised including Directors of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research and the committee shall establish the bylaws of the association.”

Perhaps then it is fitting that we leave the last words of this article to President Nagayo, who made the following comments concerning the JCA during his speech at the opening of the 32nd Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research Scientific Convention at Tokyo Imperial University in April 1940.

“The point is that we think that be doing this cancer research in this country will be pushed further ahead by the united cooperation of scholars nationwide. If a new association is established, the members of the Koraku-kai, who are the patrons of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research shall be made members of the Japanese Cancer Association that is to be newly formed, but I hope that many more members will join when the association is established.” (3)




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