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The 26th Meeting of the Hiroshima Local Liaison Council Is Held

The 26th meeting of the Hiroshima Local Liaison Council (LLC) was held on February 21, 2024.

The LLC consists of representatives of local universities, medical institutions, A-bomb survivor organizations, the media, and local government to ensure that the community’s wishes are reflected in RERF’s operations, and it previously met online in February 2023. The latest meeting was convened on a face-to-face basis for the first time in five years since 2018.

With Hiroshima University President Mitsuo Ochi as chair and 11 of its total 15 members in attendance, including substitutes, the LLC discussed the following seven agenda items:

  1. Report on present status
  2. RERF strategic plan
  3. Relocation of Hiroshima facility
  4. Recent study results
  5. Progress report on genome sequencing analysis for A-bomb survivors’ children
  6. External Advisory Committee on Biosample Usage
  7. Other items for reports

First, Dr. Kamiya reported on RERF’s status after the last Hiroshima LLC meeting, including the new Board of Directors starting in June 2023, major meetings, strategic plan, and facility relocation. Regarding the RERF strategic plan, he explained that in addition to the ongoing epidemiological research, the biosamples provided by the A-bomb survivors would be analyzed by cutting-edge techniques, and that relocating to Hiroshima University’s Kasumi campus would be important to realize the strategic plan. Dr. Kamiya then explained the new building’s basic concept, including a flexible design capable of handling new research, open research areas facilitating collaborative studies, and examination areas considering the study participants’ convenience. In response to this, a member commented on Hiroshima University’s move toward establishing a biobank and suggested that cooperation between the university and RERF might be possible. Another member commented that sharing data on dosimetry could be beneficial for follow-up on the A-bomb survivors’ health.

Then, Dr. Rajaraman reported on the cancer-related study results, new findings from the Life Span Study and Adult Health Study, dosimetry with modern human-body models (phantoms), and the latest information on mechanistic research related to radiation effects. Then, in her progress report on the genome sequencing analysis for A-bomb survivors’ children (Trio Study), she explained its objective, method, schedule, and outside cooperation. She also reported that the potential effect of parental A-bomb radiation exposure on the health of their children was a long-standing concern. She continued to explain that the trio families (parents and children) were selected carefully based on dose distribution, that the research protocol incorporated comments and advice collected by a stakeholder committee, and that obtaining informed consent started in February 2024 to start a preliminary study. A member commented on the necessity of intervention by groups of A-bomb survivors and response to ELSI (ethical, legal, and social issues). Then, RERF explained that such issues would be handled carefully. Finally, Dr. Kodama explained the background of the External Advisory Committee on Biosample Usage established in 2022 and the suggestions made at the committee’s meeting on the Trio Study held in August 2023 (1. Communicating findings to study participants in an accurate and understandable manner, 2. Proactively interacting with the public, and 3. Initiating the study in a timely manner to communicate findings).

After conclusion of the meeting’s agenda, Dr. Ochi remarked, “I am hopeful that the opinions expressed today will be taken seriously by RERF and utilized in the foundation’s future project management.” With that, the 26th meeting of the Hiroshima LLC concluded.