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The UK Government has announced that medical researchers in Britain and Japan are to come together to advance research into treatments for debilitating degenerative diseases to help people to live longer and healthier lives in both countries.

Prime Minister Theresa May, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe have announced a new £30 million partnership to promote new technology and innovation to enable people to live longer, healthier lives.

The partnership includes a £10 million programme led by the UK’s Medical Research Council and Japan’s Agency for Medical Research and Development that aims to advance regenerative medicine.

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The research will also help understanding in critical regenerative processes in human health, leading to the creation of tools and technologies to treat patients. This could lead to new therapies for use against various types of cancer and repair damage caused by degenerative conditions, such as motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

To help create these technologies, British and Japanese businesses will collaborate to develop new assisted living products. Through a joint competition focused on employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics in assisted living, the businesses can access funding to help create safe and intelligent home environments.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK and Japan are home to some of the most innovative businesses in the world, and we share the same fundamental belief in the power of enterprise to improve the lives of our citizens.

“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. We can do this most effectively by reaching out to other centres of excellence around the world. Japan is the perfect partner with which to build on our strengths in science, medicine and research and to lead the world in developing innovative solutions to help us live longer, healthier lives.

“The new NHS long term plan and the modern Industrial Strategy’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge will help people age well and use technology to detect and prevent diseases sooner. Today’s announcements will harness the power of innovation to meet the needs of an ageing society, while putting the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.”

A further £20 million in new joint funding will support collaborations between British and Japanese researchers.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock commented: “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.”

Through Britain’s modern Industrial Strategy and Japan’s Society 5.0, Britain and Japan aim to strengthen economic links and will work collaboratively to tackle shared Grand Challenges of an ageing society, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data, clean growth, and the future of mobility.

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