The operation of Cancer Chemotherapy Center has been constantly based on three categories, basic cancer research, clinical research and research supporting activity including information exchanges on anti-cancer drugs. Particularly, aiming at the global standardization of the screening methods for anti-cancer drugs, the Center played critical roles in introducing new screening systems and materials cooperating with the National Cancer Institute, USA, and critically contributed to promotion of cancer chemotherapy research in Japan. These efforts on compound screening have been evolved today into functional screening with 39 cancer cell lines, and opened to support cancer chemotherapy research in academia and industry in Japan.
On the other hand, the basic research on cancer chemotherapy was powerfully promoted in close collaboration with clinical studies. Remarkable achievement for example was identification of P-glycoprotein as a multi-drug resistant factor. This was the first discovery that a single protein is the origin of multi-drug resistance, which had been a big mystery and the most serious problem in cancer chemotherapy. Further discovery that the P-glycoprotein is inhibited by calcium competitor drugs was the first indication how the drug resistance can be overcome and stimulated drug innovation with great impact in the world scale.
These researches have been further developed into so called "Molecular Target Therapy". Namely, innovation of new anti-cancer drugs is focused on targeting the specific gene function rather than the classical cytotoxicity in general. Accordingly, new divisions including Molecular Pharmacology, Molecular Biotherapy, Genome Research have been set up in addition to Division of Experimental Chemotherapy and Clinical research. Each division is focusing on each project such as cancer cell metastasis, cancer stem cells and drug resistance, telomere maintenance in cancer cells and microenvironments for cancer cells, but they are closely cooperated forwarding to the translational research with the clinical group.
Research Supporting Activities
As mentioned above, our Center was established for the global standardization of Japanese research activities in anti-cancer drug development. As the result, research supporting activity became one of our role particularly supporting international information exchanges and cooperation in cancer chemotherapy. Typical examples were the serial operation of US-Japan Joint Seminar on Anticancer Drug Evaluation, NCI-JFCR training program exchanging many young researchers and many others. Reflecting advances of science and technology, these efforts have been transformed into modified versions such as JFCR-International Symposium on Cancer Chemotherapy, Japanese Association for Molecular Target Therapy of Cancer, and Anti-Tumor Drug Development Forum and currently contributing to support of the Japanese activities in cancer chemotherapy.
- The JFCR-International Symposium on Cancer Chemotherapy
- The Japanese Association for Molecular Target Therapy of Cancer
- The Anti-Tumor Drug Development Forum