Purpose: In Japan, gene therapy and cellular therapy are categorized as regenerative medicine products based on the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Law that was implemented in 2014. In this new law, regenerative medicine products were newly defined, and a conditional and term-limited approval system for regenerative medicine products was instituted. In addition, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare instituted the SAKIGAKE (meaning pioneer or forerunner in Japanese) designation system in 2015. This designation is similar to the breakthrough therapy designation in the United States. These new regulatory frameworks have stimulated clinical development of new gene and cellular products in Japan. In fact, oncolytic virus therapy for glioblastoma and NY-ESO-1 (T-cell receptor) T-cell therapy for synovial sarcoma were granted SAKIGAKE designation in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Oncolytic virus therapy and genetically engineered T-cell therapy for cancer are being actively developed and examined in investigator-initiated trials. Methods: This review analyzes the domestic and international clinical trial registries to comprehensively collect information on clinical trials of gene and cellular therapeutic products for cancer in Japan. Implications: Current trends in clinical development of gene and cellular therapeutic products for cancer in Japan are discussed.
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