Medical researchers in the UK and Japan are to join forces in the fight to advance research into treatments for some of the most debilitating degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

The partnership includes a £10 million programme led by the UK’s Medical Research Council (UKMRC) and Japan’s Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) aiming to advance regenerative medicine.

The research plans to help understanding in critical regenerative processes in human health and translate research into tools and technologies to treat patients. This could help lead to new therapies for use against many types of cancer, including brain tumours or leukaemia, and repair damage caused by degenerative conditions such as motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

The news comes shortly after the announcement of the new NHS Long Term Plan, which plans to work with the modern Industrial Strategy’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge to help people age well and use technology to detect and prevent diseases sooner.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said of the partnership:

“The UK and Japan are home to some of the most innovative businesses in the world, and we share the same fundamental belief in the power of enterprise to improve the lives of our citizens.

“This Government wants to give older people at least five extra healthy independent years of life by 2035. Our modern Industrial Strategy and its Ageing Society Grand Challenge aims to put the UK at the forefront of new technologies.

“We can do this most effectively by reaching out to other centres of excellence around the world.  Japan is the perfect partner with which to build on our strengths in science, medicine and research and to lead the world in developing innovative solutions to help us live longer, healthier lives.”