Department of Surgery

General Thoracic Surgery

Innovations in thoracic surgery
  • Use of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) to prevent lung cancer metastasis
  • Eludication of the mechanism of lung cancer metastasis
  • Hydrogen inhalation to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injury in lung transplantation
  • Global leader in the study of thymomas
  • Use of iPS cells for lung regenerative medicine
Professor Meinoshin Okumura
General Thoracic Surgery
The lab was founded in 2007 and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

From bench to bedside and bedside to bed

Multicenter clinical study on cancer metastasis inhibitory effects by atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)

ANP is a hormone secreted by heart cells and used to treat heart failure. We have shown that during surgery for nonsmall cell lung cancer, cardiorespiratory complications can be prevented by administering low doses of ANP for 3 days. ANP also showed preventative effects of cardiopulmonary complications post surgery for up to 2 years. The benefits were observed independent of other factors, such as age, sex and cancer progression, suggesting that ANP has a suppressive effect on cancer metastasis and recurrence. Further investigation showed that this effect was associated with ANP preventing interaction between cancer cells and blood vessels. Currently, we are conducting multicenter clinical research to test the benefits of ANP administration in lung cancer patients.

Reduction of ischemia-reperfusion injury after lung transplantation by hydrogen inhalation

Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a condition that greatly affects the outcome of lung transplantation. Ischemia-reperfusion injury jeopardizes the function of the transplanted lungs in both the acute and chronic stages after transplant surgery. Despite the significance, there is little in terms of effective treatment. It has been shown that hydrogen molecules could be useful by acting as antioxidants. Hydrogen molecules can not only directly act on the reactive oxygen species, but also indirectly act by stimulating signaling pathways that express antioxidant factors. We have demonstrated in animal models that the inhalation of hydrogen gas reduces ischemia-reperfusion injury of the lungs after transplantation. Clinical studies investigating he potential benefits of hydrogen molecules are ongoing for a number of diseases including myocardial infarction and Parkinson’s disease. Our laboratory, in collaboration with the Osaka University School of Medicine Hospital Intensive Care Unit, has initiated the world’s first clinical trials on the use of hydrogen gas in patients after lung transplantation.