Department of Internal Medicine

Hematology and Oncology

Elucidation of the pathology of blood diseases and development of novel therapeutic treatments, with the aim to integrate basic research with state-of-the-art medical care
    • Elucidation of molecular mechanisms involved in the maintenance and regulation of lymphocyte production
    • Elucidation of molecular mechanisms controlling self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells, and the pathology of aging and tumorigenesis
    • Functional analysis of Anamorsin in relation to the control of cell death and its role in various blood diseases
    • Elucidation of the pathology of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and development of novel therapeutic treatments
    • Analysis of molecular mechanisms involved in functional regulation of platelets and the elucidation of the pathology of platelet function disorders
Hematology and Oncology
Originated from the Research Institute of Microbial Diseases in Osaka University, and founded in the Biomedical Education and Research Center of the School of Medicine, the Laboratory of Hematology and Oncology of the Graduate School of Medicine was established. Principal Investigator Professor Kanakura has served as the Chairman of the Japan Society of Hematology for 5 years from 2009 to 2014. Kanakura’s laboratory has the largest number of medical staff in Japan. This laboratory has been leading hematology research and related clinical practices in Japan.

Global development based on comprehensive basic reserch and clinical medicine with the use of advanced medical treatments

The Laboratory of Hematology and Oncology is developing cutting-edge clinical treatments and conducting a wide range of research activities for the advancement of hematology

1) Lymphocyte Research Group

Bone marrow stromal cells secrete various cytokines and express different adhesion molecules and extracellular matrix proteins on the cell surface, by which signal lymphocyte precursor cells differentiate and proliferate, and in addition regulate bone marrow colonization or migration associated with differentiation. It is believed that the disruption of the lymphocyte regulatory mechanism by bone marrow stromal cells is one of the factors contributing towards immunodeficiency diseases and autoimmune diseases. Based on this hypothesis we have identified a number of lymphocyte regulatory elements originated from bone marrow stromal cells and are currently conducting functional analysis of these molecules.

2) Hematopoietic Stem Cell Research Group

Hematopoietic stem cells have the ability to self-replicate and act as a source of blood supply throughout their lifespan. In clinical treatment, they play an important role in transplantation therapy or the treatment of intractable blood diseases. Current work focuses on the culturing of hematopoietic stem cells in vitro for use in transplantation therapy and regenerative medicine, and the analysis of their physiological properties with the aim of developing new treatments by manipulating these cells to target specific intractable blood diseases.

3) Anamorsin Research Group

Anamorsin is a novel molecule discovered by the laboratory and is derived from tumor cells resistant to the induction of cell death. Studies revealed the important role of Anamorsin in the development, proliferation and differentiation of blood cells, as genetically modified mice lacking Anamorsin suffer from embryonic mortality due to prominent dyshemopoietic anemia. Current work focuses on the identification of proteins involved in the functioning of Anamorsin and to precisely analyze their mode of action at the molecular level.

4) Erythrocyte Research Group

Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria is a disease caused by hematopoietic stem cells with abnormality in the GPI-anchored protein. In collaboration with the Konishita Laboratory at the Research Institute of Microbial Diseases, it is discovered that the defect in GPI-anchored protein is due to somatic mutation of PIGA (phospatidylinositol glycan class A) gene, which is involved in the initial step of GPI synthesis. Current work focuses on understanding the mechanism of clonal expansion of abnormal stem cells resulting from PIGA mutation in collaboration. Work is also underway on the development of new treatments for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and the analysis of refractory cases.

5) Platelet Study Group

Through extensive analysis of disorders exhibiting abnormalities in platelet function, the molecular mechanism of platelet activation has been revealed. Moreover, by investigating the pathogenesis of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, GPIIb-IIIa found on platelets was identified as the target of endogenous immune response leading to premature platelet destruction. Development of new diagnosis methods and novel treatments for platelet disorders via the activation of platelet growth factor receptors are also underway.