Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Asia - Asian Countries among Leaders in Fast-Growing Stem Cell Field

Singapore, Japan and China are among the leaders in stem cell research, a field growing twice as fast as the average growth in research.

Stem cell research is growing twice as fast as the world average growth in research, according to a study of the growth and development of the field. The study also found that Singapore and Japan have some of the highest activity in stem cell research while China is a top contributor in terms of volume.

The report, released at the World Stem Cell Summit, is based on a comprehensive analysis of publications in the stem cell field which includes research on embryonic stem (ES) cells, human embryonic stem (hES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

In order to provide a broad and transparent data driven view of the field, the study reviewed leading nations’ research output, citation impact and collaboration behavior, as well as assessing international differences in focus and growth.

The report combines a comprehensive publication analysis from Elsevier’s Scopus, a scientific abstract and citation database, together with scientists’ and other stakeholders’ views on current progress and future expectations of the field.

“This report gives us a bird’s eye view of the international stem cell field, drawing on advanced bibliometric techniques to identify national and international trends – where is stem cell research strongest, where is the sector developing fastest, are the results of individual funding initiatives translating into high impact publications, and so on,” said Professor Clare Blackburn, the Project Coordinator of EuroStemCell.

“It has been extremely interesting to analyze these data, they contain a lot of provocative information. We hope readers will gain a new understanding of the shape of the field that will stimulate future policy discussions.”

According to the report, Singapore, Italy, the USA, Japan, and Israel show the highest level of activity in stem cell research while the US and China show the highest volume.

In addition to the finding that stem cell research is growing twice as fast (7%) as the world average growth in research (2.9%), the study also found that area of induced pluripotent stem cells (awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012) has grown at an astonishing rate of 77% annually since 2008.
The analysis also found that stem cell publications are 50% more cited than the world average for all related subject areas and that around half of all stem cell papers use keywords related to “drug development” or “regenerative medicine”, reflecting the field’s clinical promise.

While the field has attracted priority status in many countries, it has also been the focus of continuous discussion around ethics and regulation with each nation taking its own policy position, some of which have had a clear effect on the dynamics of the field.

“The challenge for the coming decade is to expand on multi-disciplinary and multi-sector collaboration aimed at large-scale production of high-quality human pluripotent stem cells, and also, robust and reliable production of high-quality differentiated cells”, said Professor Norio Nakatsuji, Founding Director of Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS).

“In order to provide adequate support to accelerate such research, a nation should take an evidence-based approach with an understanding of the global trend from a multitude of perspectives.”

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