Since 1980, non transplantable tissues from brain dead donors have been used for new drug development in the United States (USA) and the European Union (EU). However, a network for human tissue procurement was not established in Japan. A non-profit organization of human and animal bridging (HAB) research has now been successfully established in partnership with the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) in the USA to allow tissues from brain dead donors to be utilized by pharmaceutical companies and academia in Japan. Research investigators in both industry and academia participate in carrying out the HAB's business in the field of basic science using human tissues and cells.
In 2008, the HAB established a working group. The purpose of this group was to implement the use of human tissues, such as kidney and cornea from heart failure patients in Japan, for research purposes. The first step was to procure tissues with the consent of the patient's family. The working group discussed the standard procedure for procurement of human tissues from the ethical and scientific view points for three years, and published their final report in 2010. This group will continue to improve guidelines for the procurement of human tissue(s), including quality assessment and banking procedures through 2012.
As a non-profit research organization, the HAB disseminates information and educates people through the news media and medical seminars hold twice a year. Through these avenues and others, the HAB would like to have human tissue procurement for research purposes recognized and accepted for the people of Japan. I hope that all members of the HAB will actively and enthusiastically participate in the organization's ongoing activities. As the first organization for the procurement of human tissue, the HAB will support basic research for new drug development, and contribute to the health and welfare of human beings in Japan.
Katashi Fukao, M.D., Ph.D.
2008-2017 HAB President