Article ID: st.2016-0135
Japan promotes research related to intractable diseases and financially supports patients with these diseases. Intractable diseases are designated as those that fulfill the following criteria: (1) rarity (affecting less than 0.1% of the population in Japan), (2) unknown etiology, (3) lack of effective treatment, (4) necessity of long-term treatment, and (5) existence of objective diagnostic criteria and not necessarily equal to rare diseases in other countries. The construction of a national database is required to promote research to clarify the pathogenesis of these diseases and to develop pharmaceutical products and medical devices. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare launched an online registration system in 2001, but many problems associated with gathering and utilizing information on patients with intractable diseases remain. In this paper, we describe the present status of the national registry of designated intractable diseases in Japan and discuss future prospects.