About The Cancer Institute of JFCR



Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research (JFCR) is a non-governmental non-profit organization established in 1908. The first chairman was Dr. Katsusaburo Yamagiwa, who is world-famous for the first experimental production of tar cancer. Rabbit ears played a major role in establishing this specialized organization.

At that time, the cruel aspects of cancer were not well recognized by society, and the main focus was on fighting the overwhelming problem of infectious diseases.

In 1934, Japan's first cancer research institute and hospital were established as the current forms after a quarter-century of fierce fund raising struggle, primarily by Mataro Nagayo, Professor of Pathology, who later became the president of the University of Tokyo. Immediately after the hospital opened, JFCR was fortunate to receive a very large donation of 1 million yen to purchase 5 g of radium from the Mitsui Group, and our hospital suddenly became one of the world's five largest facilities for cancer radiation therapy. Dr. Tamaki Kajitani's extraordinary efforts have also been linked to the fame of cancer surgery. In this way, JFCR's Cancer Institute Hospital has rapidly become a mecca for cancer patients nationwide.

Until the Aichi Cancer Center and the National Cancer Center were established in 1961 and 1962, respectively, JFCR was simply the Institute of specialized and comprehensive cancer research and treatment in Japan. It was called the Cancer Institute Hospital (Gann-ken in Japanese). It was simply called the Cancer Institute Hospital without the name of the prefecture or region, and this name has been used up to now.

In April 1945, at the end of World War II, all the research and medical facilities were completely destroyed by bombing and fire. However, after the war, we purchased a hospital in Ginza in 1946, and resumed the medical practice at the hospital immediately.

The Research institute was reopened in 1948 under the direction of Dr. Waro Nakahara, a biologist and chemist known for discovering the carcinogenicity of 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide. He was then transferred to the National Cancer Center as a Center Director in 1962, and many experienced scientists at the Cancer Institute followed him and contributed to the development of the new facility there. In 1963, Dr. Tomizo Yoshida, who is world-famous for experimental hepatocarcinogenesis induced by azo dyes, became the director of the 4th Cancer Research Institute.

Fortunately, his tenure, when he worked with Dr. Toshio Kurokawa, Director of the Hospital, and Mr. Hiroshi Anzai, Chairman of the Board of Directors, was a time when the Japanese economy became more prosperous than ever. The adjacent hospital has been completely renewed and essentially expanded to its current form. In 1973, Dr. Yoshida passes shortly before the opening of his new cancer chemotherapy center, which was his main motivating force. After that, the directors of the Cancer Research Institute and the Cancer Chemotherapy Center were respectively taken over by Dr. Haruo Sugano and Dr. Yoshio Sakurai.

It was the time when molecular approaches were gradually gaining in popularity in the field of cancer research. Under the direction of Dr. Sugano, this new trend was rapidly introduced, and the Cancer Institute became a breakthrough and continued to make progress in the following few years, including cloning, sequencing, and clarification of interferon and interleukin-2 (Dr. T. Taniguchi), human T-cell leukemia virus (Dr. M. Yoshida), cytochrome p-450 (Dr. Y. Fujii), drug-resistant p-glycoprotein (Dr. T. Tsuruo), and APC gene (Dr. Y. Nakamura).

When the American magazine Science featured in Japan's basic science in 1992, the Cancer Institute of JFCR was one of the most productive and most cited institutions in the world from 1981 to 1991. After that, there was a flood of invitations to professors from top national universities, and the staff had been significantly changed by the early 90's.

The Cancer Institute then quickly resumed its young energy and talent as already demonstrated by the discovery and characterization of the TSC-2 gene responsible for hereditary renal cell carcinoma of the Eker rat (Dr. O. Hino) as well as Smad6, an inhibitor of signaling by the TGF-β superfamily (Dr. K. Miyazono), success in induction of mouse colon cancers by conditional knockout of the APC gene (Dr. T. Noda), elucidation of HBVX-protein in terms of mitochondrial injury (Dr. K. Koike) and production of bioactive new proteins by an innovative Molcraft method (Dr. K. Shiba).

Due to its small size, the Cancer Institute has always featured excellent inter-divisional collaboration between research scientists. The institute and the hospital have also built a close relationship from the beginning. Thus, a large amount of research data on cancer diagnosis, characterization, and treatment has been accumulated as a very important source of information through many years of joint efforts by clinical physicians and laboratory pathologists. The concept of "early cancer" in the stomach and cervix came from this cooperation. Since 2000, the Institute, Hospital, Cancer Chemotherapy Center, and Cancer Precision Medicine Center have been working closely together and vigorously to establish individualized cancer treatment systems.

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