Story of rare
cell populations

Cancer stem cells and Circulating tumor cells

Metastasis is responsible for more than 90% of deaths among cancer patients. It is a highly complex process that involves the interplay between cancer cells.

Recently, cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been thought as the seeds of tumorigenesis. However, the relationship between CSCs and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and the mechanism by which CSCs lead to colonization are still unclear. Here, the applicant plans to trace the changes in CSCs during tumorigenesis and metastasis.

In circulation, most CTCs fail to disseminate. While our knowledge of the factors that determine survival is increasing, very little is known about where the disseminated survivor cells come from i.e., the issue of origin or what makes CTCs survive ,i.e the issue of environment.

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Why are we losing
the war against cancer ?

How can we view cancer and win it ?

Cancer therapy may not be the issue of killing the disease cells. We need to change the paradigm for the war.

To determine common molecular factors that inhibits cancer metastasis

Our researches will try to identify mediators of metastasis that are common to different organ sites and tumor types. The topic of organ-specific metastasis has revealed that metastatic colonization is different event between organs, by association of different molecules based on seed and soil theory. Thus, late stage of colonization is unlikely to find common target to suppress metastasis. Rather, fate or metastatic potential of CTC may be determined at relatively early stage with CSC. However, it is not clear whether CSCs are derived from normal stem cells or by mutation accumulation in non-stem tumor cells. In addition, gene expression patterns and additional mutations that differentiate normal stem cells, cancer stem cells, and non-stem tumor cells have not been examined thoroughly. Furthermore, the difference in metastasis ability among cell types is not clear.

And… back to basic of life : Translation system of ribosome and tRNA multi synthetases

The basic principles of life are closely related to the complex phenomena of life. Even the basic principle may be controlling the complex phenomenon. Understanding the universal phenomenon of all living things helps us to understand the difference between humans and other living things and to understand human diseases. Thus, we have studied the protein synthesis system among the basic phenomena of life. Protein synthesis systems exist in all species, but their components are different from each other and their changed forms have been found in many diseases such as cancer. Currently, we are focusing on the dynamics and interdependent signal transduction of the ribosome and tRNA synthetases.

Which cancer cells can be metastatic?

We have focused on breast cancer cells which metastasize to brain since it is known that metastasizing to brain is particularly fatal to patients as the treatment becomes difficult and complex. Thus, to find more effective ways to treat brain metastasis of breast cancer cells, we have performed in-silico analyses for novel targets discovery, and for repurposing of existing drugs. We examined differential expressed genes of breast cancer when cells are metastasizing to brain by using meta-analysis of three publicly available datasets.