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Message from the President

Hitoshi Nakagama, M.D., D.M.Sc.President National Cancer Center

Founded as a hub for cancer treatment and research by the central government in 1962, the National Cancer Center has lead the nation’s cancer medicine and research ever since. The Center was designated an Incorporated Administrative Agency in April 2010, then subsequently a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, with a renewed commission to explore and address issues, complementing academia and the private sector. To serve as a nucleus of clinical research and development, the Hospital (Tsukiji campus) and Hospital East (Kashiwa campus) were designated as core hospitals for clinical research respectively in August and September of 2015, since when they have been leading world class clinical research and investigator-initiated trials. It is essential to control cancer with both basic research as well as treatment, and it is our duty to form strategies and present them to the nation and to the Japanese people. 

Currently, one in every two Japanese citizens will develop cancer in their lifetime. Nearly one million people are newly diagnosed with cancer every year, and as the population ages, we expect cancer patient numbers to build up. The mission of the National Cancer Center is not only to provide suitable care including genomic medicine to each individual cancer patient, based on genomic and other clinical and biological information, but also to prevent the onset of cancer by identifying high-risk groups and developing and implementing effective prevention measures. In other words, we are to establish, practice and promote precision medicine tailored to individual patients. To achieve these objectives, it is essential to elucidate traits and diversity of cancer in individuals with integrated omics research including genomic analysis, and to develop optimal individual treatment and prevention methods. Developing an understanding of localized immune response in tumor tissue is also urgently called for. 

The following has been our recent focus, in implementing the national 10-year Strategy for Cancer Research, in action from 2014, under the slogan "completely cure, prevent, live with cancer, working with patients and society":

  • Reinforcing research and clinical systems to address unmet medical needs
  • Developing a framework to provide suitable treatments and prophylactics for individual patients, based on genomic information

Following the revolutionary leap in genome sequencing technology, our nation is establishing cancer genomic medicine under our national healthcare system. Our hospitals on both Tsukiji and Kashiwa campuses were designated as core hospitals for cancer genomic medicine in March 2018. It is imperative that we work with other cancer genomic medicine core and cooperative hospitals across the nation, to ensure the delivery and quality of the services, by sharing knowledge and nurturing specialists. Collaboration with our Asian partners is another focus, towards establishing a more powerful development framework.

For our experts to work ever closely together, to integrate our insight and experience to advocate new cancer control strategies and policies, the Institution for Cancer Control was established in 2021. Collaboration with industrial and academic research institutions to realize effective control over cancer is indispensable. The wishes and hopes of the Japanese citizens, including cancer patients and their families, need to be addressed, towards providing solutions. I, as President, wish to develop and reinforce a system for providing medical care that will allow all cancer patients and their families to keep their hopes alive.


Hitoshi Nakagama, M.D., D.M.Sc.
National Cancer Center