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Division of Brain Tumor Translational Research
Our laboratory focuses on translational research on brain tumors. The prognosis of malignant brain tumors, which make up approximately one third of all primary brain tumors, is dismal. In adults, the great majority of primary malignant brain tumors are gliomas. Glioblastomas (WHO grade IV) are the most malignant and fatal brain tumor, the patients’ median survival being only about 14 months after surgical removal. Glioblastomas with MGMT methylation respond to temozolomide better than those without, especially among elderly patients. The presence of IDH1/2 mutations is associated with longer survival and defines a biologically distinct subtype among adult gliomas. Thus, accurately assessing those molecular markers in gliomas is critical in interpreting the outcome of clinical trials, as well as in routine clinics. The on-going genome-wide studies using high throughput sequencing technologies will undoubtedly identify novel molecular markers and possibly therapeutic targets. However, to fully evaluate the significance of newly identified glioma-associated genes, an extensive validation using a large cohort of tumors as well as functional analysis are necessary using a suitable model system such as cultured cells.
We organize/participate in a number of multi-center collaborations on translational research, including the Intracranial Germ Cell Tumor Consortium, Japan Pediatric Molecular Neuro-Oncology Group (JPMNG), Japan Children’s Cancer Group (JCCG) and Japan Clinical Oncology Group (JCOG), and carry out all aspects of molecular analysis to contribute to the co-operative effort towards improving treatments for brain tumors.