Hematology and Oncology
- Practice of the best treatment for hematological disease
- Educating the future generation of Japanese hematologists
- World-class hematology research
1) Basic research on the pathology of hematological diseaeses
2) Translation research using seeds from basic research
The conduct of basic research to elucidate the priniples of hematological diseases and translation research based on seeds from the basic research.
Our group not only conducts standard hematological treatments like HSC transplantation, but we also conduct basic research to develop new treatments. A summary of our different groups is given below.
1) Gene therapies and immunotherapies for blood cancers:
We are searching for surface antigens specifically expressed in blood cancers as targets for CAR-T therapies. One treatment for multiple myeloma is soon to commence a company clinical trial. Osaka University is exceptionally strong at immunology, which makes it an ideal location to pursue new gene therapies and immunotherapies.
Bone marrow stromal cells secrete cytokines and also express adhesion molecules and matrix components to promote the differentiation and proliferation of lymphocyte progenitor cells. They also regulate cell migration in the bone marrow. We therefore have hypothesized that defective bone marrow stromal cells could be the cause of various immunodeficiencies and autoimmune diseases. Accordinlgy, we are investigating the function of the molecules regulated by these cells.
3) Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC)
HSC have the potential to proliferate while acting as the source for all our blood cells over the lifetime. HSC transplantation is the gold standard for treating intractable blood diseases. We are studying HSC expansion in vitro for better HSC transplantation and regenerative medicine. This work involves examination of the physiological properties of HSC and experimenting with artificial manipulations.
Anamorsin is a novel molecule that we discovered in tumor cells that are resistant to cell death. Mice deficient in anamorsin die at the fetal stage and show marked anemia and hematopoietic dysfunction, suggesting its role in the development, proliferation and differentiation of blood cells. We have identified proteins that function with anamorsin and are investigating their molecular functions.
5) HSC transplantation
We conduct 25-30 HSC transplantations annually for blood malignancies such as leukemia and for bone marrow failure. We are investigating ways to enhance the effectiveness of this treatment. Of special interest is the gut flora before and after the transplantation in order to find new risk factors.
6) Red blood cells
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a disease caused by HSC with abnormal glycosylphosphatidylinisotol (GPI) anchored proteins. Through collaborative work with the Kinoshita Group at the Osaka University Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, we have discovered two causal genes (PIGA and PIGT) and are now examining the mechanism for clonal expansion of these abnormal cells. Besides PNH, we are investigating new drug treatments for cold agglutinin disease and autoimmune hemolytic anemia along with studying refractory cases.
We are proud to be one of Japan’s top labs for platelet research and receive many requests from universities and hospitals to conduct analyses on platelet abnormalities. One of our major interests is the molecular mechanisms for autoimmune thrombocytopenia (ITP), in which we are focusing on the membrane protein GPIIb-IIIa (also known as integrin αIIbβ3). We also prepared the 2019 Japan guidelines for ITP treatment.