Endowed Chair

Frontier Science for Cancer and Chemotherapy

New cancer therapies and drugs by using the Osaka University network
  • New drugs for gastrointestinal cancer
  • New molecular drug targets for early stage solid cancers
  • Clinical application of immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Study of the mechanisms and potential side effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors

New cancer drugs for clinical application

1) Introduction of new drugs for cancer treatment
Many nations introduced a number of new cancer drugs for patient care from 2000 to 2010, but Japan was much slower to adopt. The reasons for the delay have been mostly political, but they have affected the ability to evaluate the benefits of these drugs in Japanese populations. Since 2011, we have worked with the Gastroenterological Surgery Department to develop new cancer drugs.

2) Approved drugs we helped develop
① Ramucirumb (stomach cancer)
Until 2015, the only effect drug for stomach cancer was trastuzumab, which targets the Her2 receptor. We have since developed ramucirumb as second-line therapy.

②Ramucirumb (colon cancer)
The United States and Europe has had notable delays in approving drugs for colorectal cancer. We participated in an international joint clinical trial that acquired approval.

③ Aflibercept (colon cancer)
We participated in research that led to this drug receiving approval in Japan.

3) Introduction of immunity checkpoint inhibitors for cancer treatment
① Nivolumab (esophageal cancer)
We contributed to Phase II research in Japan. The results were published in Lancet Oncology in March 2017 with our member as first author.

② Nivolumab (stomach cancer)
We contributed to an international Phase III trial by recruiting patients through the Osaka University network. This was the largest study done in Japan and second largest in the world. The results will be published in Lancet. Based on the results, we are conducting an extended clinical trial and treating patients with advanced stomach cancer in facilities across the country.

4) New drugs at early stages
The evaluation of drug toxicity at the early stage of drug development is crucial before moving to late stage clinical trials. Accordingly, we have conducted phase I tests on several drugs including Avelumab, Pembrolizumab, GS-5745, etc., which has led to next stage research.

5) Translational research of new drugs
We aim to improve academic training using these drug studies. This strategy involves using the application of experimental drugs to understand the evaluation of biomarkers, research on tolerance mechanisms, and evaluation of toxicity evaluation.