Core/Unit Introduction


Tumor Microenvironment Research Unit

Function, mechanisms, and drug discovery focusing on tumor microenvironment leading to cancer metastasis and drug resistance

Specialty:cancer cancer medical science

Keyword:cancer cancer stem cell oncogene drugs targeting cancer molecules cell death

/ Professor
Nano Life Science Institute(WPI-NanoLSI)/ Cancer Research Institute


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Cancer Research Institute


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Research Content

Even cancer cells that have aggressively invaded and metastasized to other tissues, they show benign characteristics when cancer cells are isolated. A cancer tissue is composed of not only cancer cells but various host cells such as fibroblasts, vascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and immune cells. Host cells and cancer cells interact with each other by secreting a variety of bioactive molecules, which creates the tumor microenvironment for cancer development, invasion, immune evasion, metastasis and resistance against anti-cancer agents. Therefore, identification and mechanistic understanding of bioactive molecules, i.e., tumor microenvironment factors, should establish a basis for elucidation of malignant progression and anticancer therapeutics. This Research Unit aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of malignant progression and drug discovery based on tumor microenvironment factors. For such purposes, we perform researches on (1) the functions and action mechanisms of biologically active proteins that confer cancer invasiveness, metastasis, and resistance against anti-cancer agents, and (2) the involvement of cancer cell death in cancer microenvironment and immune evasion, and their mechanisms.

▲ Microenvironment promoting tumorigenesis, survival of cancer stem cell, metastasis and resistance against anti-cancer agents