Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—Internationally-recognized cancer clinician and researcher Takami Sato, M.D., Ph.D., who serves as the Director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, has been named the first K. Hasumi Professor of Medical Oncology.
The endowed professorship is a generous gift of Kenichiro Hasumi, M.D., a cancer immunotherapy specialist and long-time collaborator and supporter of Dr. Sato. The professorship is named in honor of both him and his late father, Kiichiro Hasumi, M.D., a renowned physician-scientist who spent his career studying cancer vaccines.
This is the only known endowed professorship of medical oncology at a medical college in the United States established by a Japanese citizen.
Dr. Sato’s investiture ceremony will take place on March 6 at Thomas Jefferson University in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Building.
“It is a great honor to be the first physician named as the recipient of this Professorship,” said Dr. Sato, who is also a member of the executive committee at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson (KCC). “This is especially gratifying for me, as Dr. Hasumi and I share a common passion in working toward better cancer immunotherapies. His continued support will no doubt help push Jefferson’s research program to even greater heights, as we work to improve the lives of patients around the world with innovative treatment approaches to metastatic uveal melanoma and other cancers.”
“I’m humbled by his support and overall longstanding interest in Jefferson and its efforts,” Dr. Sato added.
As director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program at Jefferson, Dr. Sato heads one of the few programs in the United States treating melanoma originating in the eye. Although uveal melanoma is the most common adult eye tumor, the disease is very rare, affecting only six or seven people per one million. This cancer commonly spreads to the liver, and patients who do not receive treatment live an average of six months. Dr. Sato has devoted his career to improving understanding of this disease and developing new treatments, particularly for patients who are not eligible for surgery.
Dr. Sato’s studies focus on cancer immunotherapy, or the use of the immune system to fight cancer. His clinical trials involving a procedure called immunoembolization have shown promising results.
In immunoembolization, a chemical to stimulate patients’ immune systems is administered to the hepatic artery that feeds the liver tumor and then the artery is blocked, cutting off oxygen to tumors and keeping the injected medicine in the tumor. In one trial, one-third of patients had tumor shrinkage, and another third experienced no tumor growth. Dr. Sato is building on these outcomes as he continues to examine methods of treating uveal melanoma and delaying its progression.
Dr. Sato came to Jefferson in 1991 after being selected as an exchange fellow by the Noguchi Medical Research Institute, where he now serves as chair of the Board of Trustees. He began collaborating with Dr. Kenichiro Hasumi in 1997, and their partnership has resulted in the development of new and unique cancer immunotherapies.
Dr. Hasumi is specialized in cancer immunotherapy and terminal care. He is also a researcher and visionary, focused on the development of cancer vaccines and improved clinical treatments to achieve better patient outcomes with a higher quality of life. He is responsible for immunotherapy by use of the Hasumi vaccine, which has been used by over 100,000 cancer patients during the past 50 years in more than 20 countries, without the occurrence of any severe side effects. He has also developed therapeutic vaccine therapies using dendritic cells.
Dr. Hasumi is also chairman of Shukokai Clinic (BSL-48 Clinic), ICVS Tokyo Clinic, Hijirigaoka Hospital, Hijiri-no-Sato Elderly Health Care Facility, and The Electro-Chemical and Cancer Institute; all these institutions are located in Tokyo, Japan. He is also the primary organizer and founder for the World Immuno-Society for Health (WISH), a nonprofit organization helping physicians, patients and their families become more aware and understanding of cancer treatment and care through networking.
In addition to his role as Professor of Medical Oncology, director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program, co-director for the Cutaneous Melanoma Program and co-leader of the Immunology Program at the KCC, Dr. Sato is a visiting professor at Chiba University and Osaka City University in Japan.
A native of Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan, Dr. Sato received his M.D. and Ph.D. at Jichi Medical School in Japan. He completed his postgraduate medical training in internal medicine and pediatrics at Oita Prefectural Hospital and his fellowship training in pediatric oncology at Jichi Medical School.
“This endowment not only highlights the importance and successes of Dr. Sato’s work in cancer immunotherapy, which will no doubt continue in the future because of this gift, but it also strengthens our international relations in medicine and sets the stage for interdisciplinary collaborations between Japan and Jefferson,” said Mark L. Tykocinski, M.D., The Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean, at Jefferson Medical College, Senior Vice President of Thomas Jefferson University, and President of Jefferson University Physicians. “We thank Dr. Hasumi and his late father for their generosity and support, as we move to the next level of research and position Jefferson as a leader in cancer immunotherapy research for metastatic uveal melanoma and other aggressive cancers.”
Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia, is nationally renowned for medical and health sciences education and innovative research. Founded in 1824, TJU includes Jefferson Medical College (JMC), one of the largest private medical schools in the country and ranked among the nation’s best medical schools by U.S. News & World Report, and the Jefferson Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions, Population Health and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Jefferson University Physicians is TJU’s multi-specialty physician practice consisting of the full-time faculty of JMC. Thomas Jefferson University partners with its clinical affiliate, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.