An Update from Yosuke
Yosuke wrote to CIKA again in September 2014. Here is a summary of what he reported.
I have just about a year to go before completing my PhD project and my list of patients under investigation continues to grow. I am currently looking at over ten different kinds of cancer, both solid tumours and blood cancers, with just under two hundred patient samples: blood , tumour and bone marrow.
All of my research work is focused on understanding immune regulation in cancer patients. My supervisors are Associate Professor Stuart Berzins at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and Professor Dale Godfrey at the University of Melbourne. They are currently Executive Secretary and President of the Australasian Society Of Immunology and they do demand lot of work from me. Recently, I have presented my solid cancer data at an Immunology Group of Victoria retreat in Creswick, discussing how immune cells frequency and their capacity to regulate immune response against cancer are affected in the blood and tumours of cancer patients. Ours was pretty much the only group with patient data as other researchers, mostly from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research medical research and Melbourne University, presented almost exclusively animal data. Although I work away from main medical research community in Ballarat, we work very closely with cancer immunology group from Peter Mac which is more focused on establishing basic concepts in animal cancer models, though they also do some human work. We come in as a group with the potential to show whether animal experimental findings are consistent with those in humans using patient samples in variety of cancers.
Finally, the director of the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, Professor George Kannourakis, has asked me to send warm regards to CIKA. George is playing a key role in convincing many clinicians in Ballarat and rural regions to have patients participate in this research project, and end towards which he is working tirelessly. He recently flew to Dallas, USA, for a one day conference trip to get new clinical-trial related information involving a product called PD-1 which plays a crucial role in immune regulation and is highly regarded as a potential game changer. He is also active in recruiting patients for this trial.
As for me, I am expected to present at the Australasian Society of Immunology Annual Meeting in December this year. This is a prestigious event and the senior members of the society have invited many internationally known medical researchers including couple of Nobel Laureates.
I do miss working for CIKA and I do extend my apologies for not having had the chance to help out or attend this year’s CIKA ball and other key events. Keep up the good work and, hopefully, we can work together again one day.