“Each patient’s death diminishes me”. This powerful variation on John Donne’s famous words was said by Dr Makoto Suematsu, President of AMED – Japan’s equivalent to the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) – as he announced the official opening of AMED’s London office and new collaboration agreement with the MRC on Wednesday night.
His point was one about health and medicine, and how infectious disease knows no boundaries but also that many other health issues humanity faces today are the same everywhere. And in broad terms Japan and the UK face the same challenges in health. This was highlighted in the 2016 Academy of Science statements led by the Science Council of Japan on neuroscience and aging.
This new MRC-AMED collaboration is due to focus on three top priority areas for the UK and Japan in health research:
- Regenerative medicine
- Dementia and aging
- Infectious diseases and Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)
The importance of this collaboration was emphasised by the esteemed members of the audience – Dame Sally Davies, Sir Mark Walport, and Sir John Savill – in their official remarks. Dame Sally Davies has been at the forefront of calls for AMR research, and the need to collaborate internationally to find alternative antibiotics for many years, and welcomed the opening of the AMED office as an opportunity to further this research. AMED has already shown leadership in WHO and UN standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the UK in tackling AMR.
As well as the new office in Moorgate, the new collaboration has opportunities for early career researchers and exchanges between the UK and Japan. In his remarks Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government, said that this is only the beginning for these UK-Japan collaborations.
Ambassador Tsuruoka highlighted that UK-Japan collaborative research achieved higher citations and this new collaboration would provide greater opportunities to achieving global health.
Dr Suematsu finished his speech with a clarion call, again editing John Donne: “the bell tolls for all biomed researchers, everywhere in the world”.