Japan’s scientists have been awarded a $4.3 million contract to develop a fish therapy treatment that could one day treat fish allergies.
Researchers at the Japanese Institute of Science and Technology’s (JIST) Fish Therapy Research Center at the university of Tsukuba announced the deal Thursday.
They have been testing a fish-derived substance called FishX that uses fish-specific proteins to stimulate the body’s immune system, said researcher Masaru Ohtsuka, who led the project.
The project has been in the works for more than three years, he said.
The Japanese government has funded more than $2.5 million for the project, including a $2 million grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The group’s goal is to develop the fish-based therapy and commercialize it in Japan, according to Ohtsuke.
The company has received a patent from the company, but it has not yet filed any commercial applications, Ohtsuki said.
The company has not revealed the name of the company and its backers, but the group has partnered with a number of Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda, and Mitsubishi Motors, according in its announcement.
The treatment works by stimulating the immune system to attack fish allergies by targeting a specific protein in the immune cells.
FishX has already been shown to help people with allergic disorders, including asthma, allergies to other foods, and the rare coronavirus.
The new treatment is a first step toward clinical trials, which could take five years, Ohsuka said.
Japan’s government has pledged more than 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion) in support for the research.
The country is among the top five recipients of U.S. taxpayer dollars for research, according the government.
The Fish Therapy Development Center is funded by a grant from Japan’s Defense Research and Development Agency, which has also funded the FishX program, Ohtuka said in a statement.
The JIST Fish Therapy research center was founded in 2002 by the Tsukuba University and affiliated institutions.
It has a total of 30 researchers, scientists, and students, according data from the institute.