| The research theme of our department is to clarify underlying mechanisms of development and progression of gastrointestinal cancers (esophageal, stomach, small intestine, colorectal, liver, bile duct and pancreatic cancers), utilizing surgically resected specimens and blood samples.
There are many research projects in progress currently in our department. We'll introduce two of them. The first theme is about the tumor microenvironment surrounding cancer cells. We focus on "cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)" among these stromal cells. CAFs in tumor microenvironment produce growth factors and cytokines through interaction with cancer cells. We're now conducting a study regarding drug resistance caused by CAFs in gastrointestinal cancers, especially gastric cancer. The second theme is cancer metabolism in pancreatic cancer. Recent studies suggest that activated glycolytic metabolism avoids cellular senescence and leads to immortalization. We recently generated mouse models that had precancerous or cancerous lesion in pancreas, and conducting research about the relationship between metabolic disorder and carcinogenesis, and development of cancers.
It is important for medical doctors to treat patients after understanding the nature of diseases. In conducting research, we generate a hypothesis and test the hypothesis. We believe that this experience will help doctors greatly in treating patients.