Charity project uses NFTs to support research on cat kidney disease

A charity programme is using NFTs to raise funds to support a Japanese institute’s research on a potential drug for kidney disease in cats.

The research is led by Dr. Toru Miyazaki, head of the Institute for AIM Medicine and who earlier identified a blood protein called Apoptosis Inhibitor of Macrophage (AIM) as a potential cure for feline kidney failure. So far, there has been no known cure for kidney disease in cats. 

Miyazaki earlier chronicled his quest in a book “The Day Cats Live to 30.” He suggested that if the AIM could be prescribed to cats, it would be possible to prevent and treat kidney disease and extend the lifespan of cats from the current average of 15 to 30 years. He said the chance of achieving this was high. 

The book grabbed attention from cat lovers, and its publisher, Japanese news agency Jiji Press, launched the charity programme through NFTs.

A collection of NFTs created by Japanese token artists on the theme of cats are available for purchase on the OpenSea marketplace and a dedicated website from May 25 to June 30. All proceeds, excluding expenses, will be donated to the institute to support its drug research. 

Other highlights include works by cat-loving manga artist Kenjiro Hata whose “Tonikaku Kawaii” is serialised in Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The NFT art project CryptoNinja will also be displaying cat-inspired works.

Miyazaki established the institute in March this year after resigning from the University of Tokyo. The aim was to concentrate on his research. 

Commenting on the use of NFTs, Jiji Press said it opened a new channel for donations to Miyazaki’s project. Previously, donations could only be made through domestic bank transfers, but NFTs could be purchased with crypto assets, making it possible for both domestic and international donors to take part, it said.