Division of Cancer Cell Biology
Laboratory Web site
Research Assistant Professor
Aims, Ongoing Projects, and Recent Achievements
Our major research interest is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating cancer cells, stem cells and cancer stem cells. Our team has two important research directions: One is to clarify the basic principles underlying biology and the other is to apply the knowledge extracted from the basic principles to translational medicine. In order to achieve the goal, we take challenging approaches of molecular biology and systems biology, in addition to conventional methods of molecular biology.
- Molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis: breast cancer stem cells as key players
By analyzing the mouse cancer model or primary cancer cells derived from human specimens, we attempt to identify novel molecular targets and biomarkers for cancer. We are collecting breast cancer patient samples and culturing them as spheroids and organoids and constructing patient-derived xnograft models (PDXs).
- Identification of new biomarkers and molecular targets of lung cancers by systems biology approach
Our hypothesis is that elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of addiction of lung epithelial cells to EGF RTK signaling leads us to identify new biomarkers and molecular targets of lung cancer. Our approach would certainly advance personalized medicine in the near future.
- Signal transduction mechanisms through receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) for tumorigenesis and stem cell maintenance
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) RTKs play major roles for a variety of physiological and pathological aspects of biology, including stem cell biology, and cancer biology. We focus on FRS2 family of adaptor/scaffolding docking proteins, as key intracellular signal regulators of these RTKs.
Niche breast cancer cells produce a variety of growth factors and cytokines.Among them, IGF2 activates the receptor IGF1R and induces expression of ID1.Then, ID1 induces expression of IGF2 itself. This IGF2-ID1-IGF2 autocrine/paracrine circuit may maintain the breast cancer stem cells and would be Achilles’ heel of cancer stem cells.