Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine | National Cancer Center Research Institute
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Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine

Research activity

Our research goals are to establish diagnostic tools for early detection of cancer and to propose novel cancer treatment strategies. As genetic and phenotypic variations are observed in various types of tumors, cancers cells possess huge molecular and cellular diversity, causing intertumoral and intratumoral heterogeneity. For a better understanding of the characteristics of these cancer cells, multi-directional approaches are indispensable, and technological innovation with splendid research concepts are required. Key words in our laboratory are nucleic acid medicine, in vivo bioimaging, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, cell and tissue engineering, and molecular oncology. We tackle to answer key biological questions and explore new research opportunities based on accumulating evidence in these areas. Consequently, we have pushed nucleic acid medicine to the doctor-initiated clinical trial, and have developed the pre-clinical test of microRNA and practical system of body fluid diagnosis. Recently, we are focusing on extracellular vesicles (exosomes) which are secreted from most types of cells including cancer cells. By uncovering the biological roles of exosomes, which facilitate intercellular communication, we aim to provide novel insights into cancer behavior in the process of progression and metastasis. In particular, our current research targets are to understand the molecular mechanism of cancer metastasis driven by exosomal microRNAs, its application for diagnosis, and the development of novel therapeutic methods by targeting exosomes. Besides the elucidation of the biological features of the cancers, we also incorporate new methods, such as reprogramming liver/hepatic stem cells and constructing in vitro cell culture-based transformation systems,