2015 Volume 20 Issue 2 Pages 77-89
In developed countries including Japan, malignant tumor (cancer), heart disease and cerebral apoplexy are major causes of death, but infectious diseases are still responsible for a high number of deaths in developing countries, especially among children aged less than 5 years. World Health Statistics published by WHO reports a high percentage of mortality from infectious diseases in children, and many of these diseases may be subject to transmission across borders and could possibly invade Japan.
Given this situation, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan initiated Phase I of the Program of Founding Research Centers for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Disease, which ran from FY 2005 to 2009, and involved 8 Japanese universities and 2 research centers. The program was established for the following purposes: 1) creation of a domestic research structure to promote the accumulation of fundamental knowledge about infectious diseases, 2) establishment of 13 overseas research collaboration centers in 8 countries at high risk of emerging and reemerging infections and at which Japanese researchers are stationed and conduct research in partnership with overseas instructors, 3) development of a network among domestic and overseas research centers, and 4) development of human resources.
The program was controlled under MEXT and managed by the RIKEN Center of Research Network for Infectious Diseases (Riken CRNID). Phase II of the program was set up as the Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Diseases (J-GRID), and has been running in FY 2010-2014.
Phase III will start in April 2015, and will be organized by the newly established Japanese governmental organization “Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)”, the so-called Japanese style NIH.
The Collaborative Research Center of Okayama University for Infectious Diseases in India (CRCOUI) was started up in 2007 at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Disease, Kolkata, India. Major projects of CRCOUI are concerned with diarrheal diseases such as, 1) active surveillance of diarrheal patients, 2) development of dysentery vaccines, 3) viable but nonculturable (VBNC) Vibrio cholerae, and 4) pathogenic mechanisms of various diarrhogenic microorganisms.
This review article outlines project of J-GRID and CRCOUI which the authors carried out collaboratively with NICED staff members.