The major parties in the government have reached a draft agreement for a bill moving towards practical uses of regenerative medicine, including the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (or iPS cells).
The different lawmakers from The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito have already agreed on principle and have finalized the contents of the bill that will give an opportunity for citizens to avail of treatments using regenerative medicine technologies. The next step will be to submit the draft to an extraordinary Diet session as early as Monday.
The bill will give the state the responsibility of taking on legal, fiscal and tax measures for the research and development phase, as well as the provision and proliferation of the technologies. Patients suffering from organ and tissue damage from sickness or injury are the ones who will greatly benefit from this bill.
Regenerative medicine is not without its dangers and issues though. Some medical experts say that iPS cells may develop into cancer cells. There are also bioethical issues that come into developing sperm and egg cells for research.
The decision to draft this bill came on the heels of the Comprehensive Strategy for the Rebirth of Japan which was approved by the cabinet last July. They will also be revising the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law by next year to clearly define regenerative medicine products.