Gastroenterological Surgery Ⅱ Research Group

The Department of Gastroenterological Surgery Ⅱ conducts its own fundamental research of molecular biology with consideration for clinical applications, in its research laboratories with the guidance of Dr. Tsuchikawa and Dr. Nakamura, as well as a number of graduate students. Research cooperation has also spread to include a number of other common research centers.

Main Research

Analysis of Prognostic Biomarkers in Cancer Vaccine Therapy

Recently, immunotherapy is anticipated as the fourth treatment method in cancer therapy after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Our research focuses on a vaccine targeting MAGE-A4 antigen which is one of Cancer Testis Antigen (CTA). Clinical research was also conducted, which had led to clinical trials between 2009 and 2012 of the CHP-MAGE-A4 vaccine, used against MAGE-A4 found in refractory malignant tumors. Along with the confirmation of the safety of the vaccine and its clinical efficiency in February 2012, we are currently conducting research on the therapeutic effect biomarker of the vaccine.

Immunotherapy Targeting the Cancer Testis Antigen (CTA)

CTA is an antigen found in large numbers in cancer cells but not in normal cells except for those in the testis. Given the discovery of these antigenic agents, immunotherapy similar to the above anti-cancer vaccine therapy is currently under investigation. Including MAGE-A4, our research lab is investigating antigen presentation of CTAs such as MAGE-A3, NY-ESO-1, and WT-1, as well as optimizing measurement methods of antigen expression ratio and manifestation in cancer patients. We hope our research leads to the development of a cancer vaccine therapy that can be used in effective immunotherapy.

Analysis of Tumor Microenvironment

Although chemotherapy and radiotherapy are parts of multidisciplinary therapy during radical resection of recurrent and advanced cancers, these methods currently have a limited effect and do not provide enough therapeutic outcomes. Although chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy have these limitations, immune cells, vascular endothelial cells, and fibroblasts found in the surrounding area of cancer cells play an important role in the local tumor microenvironment. Our research focuses on the use of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, HLA down-regulation and suppressor cells present in this microenvironment as surgical factors in the treatment of refractory cancers such as esophageal, pancreatic and biliary tract cancers.

Other Research

Basic Research
  • Analysis of enhancement effect of the host immune response to chemotherapeutic agents
  • Research on the predictive factors involved in the effectiveness of chemotherapy used for refractory gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Analysis of the mechanism and prognosis of gastrointestinal cancers using quantitative estimation of the IgGκ chain in peripheral blood and the tumor environment
  • Analysis of the host immune response and immune evasion response of primary and metastatic tumors.
  • Analysis of Cancer Testis Antigen (CTA) expression level in gastrointestinal cancers using a tissue microarray
Clinical Research
  • Evaluation of the cancer antigen-presenting capacity of activated gamma delta T-lymphocytes
  • Phase II clinical trial of the multi-center randomized controlled study IMF-001 on the positive expression of NY-ESO-1 antigen in esophageal cancer after radical resection
  • Research on predicting preoperative liver micro metastasis based on blood analysis of patients with pancreatic or biliary cancer