Professor: Futoshi Okada, Ph.D.
Associate professor: Mitsuhiko Osaki, Ph.D.
Assistant professor: Runa Izutsu
Our division is at the forefront of developing a new paradigm for examining carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Decades of research conducted in the laboratory using several unique animal models has revealed that inflammation directly causes acceleration of the conversion of normal/precancerous cells into tumorigenic cells and the malignant progression of tumor cells. These findings are described in chapter 11 (“Inflammation serves to promote tumor progression”) of the textbook “The Biology of Cancer” edited by Dr. Robert A. Weinberg (pp. 441-442, 2007).
The Okada laboratory has set the stage for a new era of a fundamentally different approach for discovering the underlying causes and methods of prevention of cancer. This research has highlighted the need to examine a number of remaining questions, including the following:
* What are the mechanisms of inflammation-related carcinogenesis?
* What are the best models for investigating inflammation-related carcinogenesis?
* What are the best targets for cancer metastasis?
* How can we determine unknown internal and external factors affecting carcinogenesis and tumor progression?
The Okada laboratory is currently researching all of these questions, with an emphasis on the experimental pathological approach. This approach is an excellent example of translational research, making discoveries in the laboratory that can be moved rapidly into the clinical and public domains.