Yosuke Minoda

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Yosuke Minoda - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

Yosuke Minoda worked as a research assistant in the Children's Cancer Centre until March 2012.

The following is based on his report back to CIKA in 2012.
After leaving the Children's Cancer Centre at the RCH, he commenced a Ph.D., and is working at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute in Ballarat where he is conducting research into both solid tumour and blood cancers using patient samples.

This is a natural extension of his work at the Children's Cancer Centre at the RCH and provides him with access to all sorts of cancer samples including breast, ovarian, non-hodgikins lymphoma, lung, myeloma, lymphoma, CLL , ALL and so on. He is currently investigating several groups of T cells to establish their importance in cancer patients. This is an extension to the dendritic cell cancer vaccine work that he undertook, with support from CIKA, at the RCH, since dendritic cells have a capacity to regulate these T cells to potentially attack or suppress cancerous cells.

He reports that he enjoyed his experience working for CIKA and the CCC and gets many questions about cancer vaccine trials whenever he is introduced to new people at various social events.

He hopes to complete his doctorate within the next two or three years and plans to keep CIKA updated on the progress of his work. He also plans to continue his work as a CIKA volunteer if time permits.

All of us at CIKA are grateful for for his work in the fight against childhood cancer and wish him every success in his current research.

This is an edited version of his letter to CIKA in mid 2014.
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.

Kind regards,