Updated: January 18, 2022

Chairman of the Board of Directors

The Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (JSGCT)
Members and related parties

The Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (JSGCT) will be starting a new chapter as a general incorporated association. I was elected as the President of the former Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (JSGCT) at the Board of Directors meeting, and I will continue to serve as the President upon its establishment as a general incorporated foundation.

The society was established in 1994 as the Japanese Society of Gene Therapy and is one of the oldest societies in the world in this field. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Shigetaka Asano, the first president of the society, for establishing gene therapy in Japan, and to Dr. Yasushi Kaneda, the second president, for renaming the society as the Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in 2015. On behalf of the members of the society, I would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Tomonori Todo, the third president of the society, for further developing the society and paving the way for its incorporation.

As you all know, in recent years, new drugs for gene cell therapy have been approved in Europe and the United States one after another, and in Japan, vascular regeneration gene therapy drugs, CAR-T therapy for blood cancer, adeno-associated virus vector products for single gene diseases, and virus therapy for cancer have been commercialized as regenerative medicine products. In addition, Biontech and Moderna have commercialized mRNA vaccines against new coronaviruses, and about 80% of the population in Japan has been vaccinated. The technology for these vaccines is based on gene therapy technology, and it was an unexpectedly memorable year when gene therapy was implemented in hundreds of millions of people around the world. In response to these developments, not only the world’s pharmaceutical giants but also governments around the world are supporting the race to develop gene and cell therapy as a target for vaccines and drug discovery, further accelerating competition. In the future, technological innovations such as genome editing will further accelerate this trend.

In the midst of these developments, the role to be played by our society is becoming incomparably larger than before. The development of vaccines against new coronaviruses is based on technologies originating from academia and start-ups. As you know, there are major differences between Europe and the U.S. and Japan in terms of funding and regulatory hurdles, but it is necessary to promote the development of Japanese original gene and cell therapy. With the incorporation of the society, we would like to work more than ever to enhance Japanese scientific and technological capabilities through industry-academia collaboration, proposals to regulations, and human resource development. I would like to ask for your continued support in these endeavors.

Nov. 17th, 2021

Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (JSGCT)
Ryuichi Morishita, M.D. Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Clinical Gene Therapy,
Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine