Japan fell below China in the number of articles published on stem cells, no rx which are expected to lead to the practical realisation of regenerative medicine treatments and products, shop slipping from second to third place, according to a survey report by the Japan Patent Office.
Amid increasingly fierce international competition in stem cell research, the United States, which tops the list, and China saw a steady increase in the number of articles in a wide range of research areas, while the number of articles in Japan grew at a sluggish pace in research areas other than induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, according to the report.
The office analysed about 17,500 articles related to stem cell research published from 2008 to 2012 by using a database of the US National Library of Medicine, in which medical papers from around the world are registered. Concerning the nationalities of the institutions to which the lead authors of the articles belonged, the United States came in first place, as the lead authors of 5,129 articles belonged to US institutions. China came in second by increasing its number from the previous period to 1,640, and Japan placed third with 1,350.
In the previous survey covering the period from 2004 to 2009, Japan came in second place, but in the latest survey, Japan was overtaken by China, which had placed fourth in the previous survey.
By research institution, the University of California topped the list, followed by Stanford University, as institutions in the United States accounted for half of the top 50. For Japan, five research institutions were in the top 50, such as Kyoto University in sixth place and the University of Tokyo in 14th. However, Japan was outnumbered by China, as seven Chinese institutions were within the top 50, led by Sun Yat-sen University in 11th place.