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Laboratory of Fundamental Oncology


Research activities

In the Laboratory of Fundamental Oncology, we are trying to elucidate the mechanism of tumorigenesis through identification of novel cancer-related genes.

The first cause of death among Japanese is "cancer", and research aimed at overcoming cancer leads to great social contribution. Research on cancer-associated genes (tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes) has largely progressed with the progress of molecular biology and cancer genomics, and many important genes have been identified. However, even for cancer types that are comparatively well-studied, such as lung cancer and breast cancer, there are only a few examples that can be explained by specific genetic abnormalities. Therefore, we still need to continue to search for novel cancer-associated genes.

The tumor suppressor gene p53 is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers and plays the central role in regulation of tumorigenesis. Elucidation of tumor suppression ability of p53 and application of p53 research to cancer treatment and diagnosis is one of the most important goals to overcome cancer. p53 is a transcription factor, which induces apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, DNA repair, etc., by transcriptionally activating p53 target genes. Mutations are detected within the DNA binding domain of p53 with high frequency in cancer, and it is clear that the loss of transcriptional ability of p53 strongly promotes tumorigenesis. Several p53 target genes are directly related to cancer, such as oncogene Mdm2 and tumor suppressor gene PTEN, and we aim to identify novel cancer-related genes by identifying novel p53 target genes.