The NEXT-Ganken Program is a 5-year research program that has been promoted by the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research’s (JFCR’s) Research Unit since 2020 in anticipation of forming the future of cancer medical care in the coming decade. The program establishes a new research promotion system enabling the Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR to collaborate with research systems a closer level than ever, elucidating pathology in an innovative manner to result in next-generation cancer therapeutic strategies, as well as develops human resources playing a role in future cancer research.
JFCR opened Koraku Hospital (currently the Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR) in the area of Nishisugamo in 1934 as Japan’s first hospital specializing in cancer. Since its establishment, the research institute and hospital have always coexisted. Currently, even after the hospital was moved to the area of Ariake, all research departments, namely the Cancer Institute, Cancer Chemotherapy Center and Cancer Precision Medicine Center (CPM Center) continue to promote structured cancer research in close collaboration with the Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR. From the beginning of the 21st century, the development of molecular-targeted agents brought great change to cancer treatments. Furthermore, more than a quarter of a century has already passed since the global trend of research and development has shifted a method that searches for the mutations of cancer genes and tumor-suppressing genes, developing molecular-targeted agents for their mutant products with rapid advancement of cancer genome analysis technologies. However, only less than half of identified cancer types markedly respond to molecular-targeted agents. In recent years, many researchers think that there are limits to treatment drugs developed through this method.
In order to provide more cancer patients with more effective cancer treatment drugs in the future, the development and progression of cancer, in particular the molecular mechanisms of its metastasis and recurrence, must be clarified at a much deeper level than our present understanding to learn about their molecular mechanisms and identify new treatment targets. JFCR has the potential to attain a new understanding of cancer for the development of innovative treatment drugs. Then, when considering such a new workflow, what is most important is to encourage basic cancer research so that human cancers can be thoroughly understood, to a level that is unprecedentedly different from our current understanding. In other words, the promotion of revolutionary human cancer biology studies is crucial. To achieve this, we have set up the NEXT-Ganken Program in JFCR’s Research Unit as a new focal point for research in order to drive innovative basic cancer research forward by introducing various advanced analysis technologies. Under the guidance of Program Director Shinji Ohno and Associate Program Director Reo Maruyama, many young researchers will participate in the Program to propel research and development with an unprecedented structure. We ask for your kind support.
Tetsuo Noda, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Managing Director, Research Unit, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research
In modern times, one in two people is diagnosed with “cancer,” and one in three people die of “cancer.” To conquer cancer is not a “dream” but a “goal” that must be achieved. For medical services to provide the best treatment and care for those who are affected by cancer, both the improvement of services and also their advancement are needed in order to prevent and even cure cancer. The three pillars of basic research, translational research and clinical research exist to achieve this. NEXT-Ganken is a program that takes on the challenge of conquering cancer by efficiently combining the three pillars in five-year periods in anticipation of forming the future of cancer medical care in the coming decade.
For individuals with cancer, we have to view their cancer tissues, cancer cells and genes as a singular disease. The “NEXT-Ganken” envisions a future where the program not only optimizes JFCR’s encouragement of close cooperation between hospitals and research organizations and development of effective cancer treatments, but also develops human resources so that they can play a key role in the next-generation of cancer research.
Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease afflicting women worldwide. It is needless to say that NEXT-Ganken will target any cancer, but intends to focus on breast cancer research.
Young researchers putting their hearts into cancer-conquering research will realize a future where “cancer has been defeated” by coming together in collaboration. Please kindly cooperate and support us.
Shinji Ohno, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director, NEXT-Ganken Program
Deputy Hospital Director, Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR
The goal of this program is to elucidate the pathology of metastatic and recurrent cancers. In conducting this research, cancer is not simply considered to be a mass but is interpreted as an “aggregate of various cells.” We intend to comprehend the nature of cancer by not only understanding the “characteristics” of each cell composing a tumor but also comprehending the “conversations” exchanged among cells and the constitution of the “society” created by them. The foundation of this research is technologies that analyze scarce and valuable cancer specimens in detail at a single cell level and create organoids that act as their replicas. By using data and resources obtained from the program as the foundation, and organically combining various specialized clinical and research knowledge and technologies, we believe that unique research, made possible only by JFCR, can be conducted.
Through the clarification of various “characteristics” of human cancer cells at a single cell level from the perspective of genomic function, we aim at developing new therapeutic strategies taking into account the dynamics of the characteristics and diversity of cancer cells.
Though learning the roles of each cell that makes up a “cancer cell community” and everything on the “communications” exchanged among the cells, we strive to comprehend the constitution of the cancer cell community and propose therapeutic strategies to control it.
Through understanding the scheme with which a tumor adapts to the environments of various organs in a human individual, we attempt to comprehend its characteristics and fragility and elicit innovative therapeutic strategies.
We will obtain specimens that can be keys for pushing each project forward and collect exhaustive information with the use of advanced technologies. We will build a platform to maximize the use of information contained in valuable specimens and share data and resources obtained through their analysis.
We will collaborate with Japanese universities and research organizations and conduct research for developing advanced bioanalysis technologies using specimens derived from cancer patients.
The NEXT-Ganken Program recruits peers who are willing to challenge this meaningful topic with us. Peers can be accepted as graduate students or research scholars. Observation is welcomed at any time. If you are interested in, please contact us.
NEXT-Ganken Program, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research
3-8-31 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8550, JAPAN
6th Floor, Ariake Central Tower, 3-7-18 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0063, JAPAN