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Department of Microbiology and Infection

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Overview

 Cancer is the leading cause of human death worldwide. A significant portion of human cancer cases, an estimated 20%–30%, attributed to an infectious etiology. So far, seven human tumor viruses are known to be associated with development and pathogenesis of cancers. The viruses include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T-cell leukemia virus I (HTLV-I), human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B (HBV) and C viruses (HCV), human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) that is also called Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). We aim to define the oncogenic mechanism and pathogenesis of diseases caused by these viruses, especially EBV and MCPyV.

Research areas

1) Viruses and Cancer
 Several viruses are linked with cancers in humans. MCPyV was discovered in 2008 from a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. We search for MCPyV-related disorders other than MCC. We also study how people become infected with MCPyV and how MCPyV becomes pathogenic, although this virus has been found in a number of places in body, including normal skin, without any symptoms.

2) Hematological malignancies caused by microbiological pathogens
 A variety of microbiological pathogens are associated with pathogenesis of hematological malignancies. For examples, EBV is the causative factor of various types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas including Burkitt’s lymphoma, pyothorax-associated lymphoma (PAL), extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma (nasal type) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the elderly. MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue) lymphoma is also associated with chronic gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori. We study molecular mechanism of the infection-related lymphomas by defining both the host cellular and viral (bacterial) gene expression profiles.

3) Basic research of bacteriophage
 Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and may destroy bacterial cells. We are pursuing a possibility for use of bacteriophages as an antibacterial therapy, and now conducting characterization of diverse bacteriophages which we have isolated so far.

Staff

Professor: Masanori Daibata MD, PhD
Associate Professor: Shigenobu Matsuzaki PhD
Assistant Lecturer: Tomonori Higuchi PhD
Assistant Lecturer: Yumiko Hashida PhD
Kochi Medical School Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Kochi Medical School
Department of Microbiology and Infection

http://www.kochi-ms.ac.jp/~ff_mcrbi/

Tel: +81-88-880-2323