Welcome to Nakamura Lab


Professor Yusuke Nakamura, MD. PhD. has been making important contributions to the fields of genomic medicine and cancer research for more than two decades. He is world-renowned as one of the pioneers of applying genetic variations (VNTR and SNP markers) and genomics to the medical field. DNA polymorphic markers developed by his group have made it possible to map and clone genes responsible for hereditary diseases, susceptibility to common diseases, drug response as well as genes involved in cancer. His work has had a great impact on the progress of genomic medicine and has influenced diverse groups of scientists worldwide.

In 1980s, Dr. Nakamura worked at the University of Utah in the laboratory of Professor Ray White. He contributed to the development of highly polymorphic VNTR markers and the construction of genetic linkage maps of human chromosomes. Using these DNA markers and genetic maps, many scientists around the world had been able to show the usefulness of the reverse genetic method. In fact, many genes responsible for hereditary diseases were mapped and cloned by the use of the DNA markers discovered in the White laboratory. Such discoveries include genes responsible for neurofibromatosis type 1, familial polyposis coli, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, familial breast cancer, and ataxia telangectasia.

During the time Dr. Nakamura worked at University of Utah and in Cancer Institute (Tokyo), he collaborated with a group lead by Prof. Bert Vogelstein at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.  Through this collaboration they were able to identify genes that are responsible for familial polyposis coli (APC gene) and this work contributed greatly to the understanding of colorectal cancer and multi-step carcinogenesis. Dr. Nakamura’s group at the University of Tokyo also cloned genes that are responsible for Fukuyama-type muscular dystrophy, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine, and gelatinous drop-like corneal dystrophy.  In addition, his group reported dozens of genes playing key roles in many cancer types through extensive expression profile analysis and subsequent functional analysis. An example of one of these genes is the SMYD3 gene. SMYD3 is a gene which has methyltransferase activity to non-histone proteins and is considered to be a good molecular target for the development of anti-cancer drugs. In addition, his group has reported on many genes that are involved in the p53 pathway such as: BAI1, p53R2, p53AIP1, p53DINP1, p53RDL, and PADI4. These genes play critical roles in p53-dependent DNA repair, angiogenesis, and apoptosis.

In recent years, RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine, formally known as RIKEN SNP Research Center, had been instrumental in discovering genomic variation using SNP-based research. The RIKEN, under Dr. Nakamura’s leadership, participated in the International HapMap Consortium and contributed to the success of the HapMap project. His group generated nearly one fourth of the Phase I data in the project and that was the largest contribution among the participating centers in the world. His group began using the genome-wide association approach to identify susceptibility genes for common diseases in 2001 and revealed the proof of concept of this approach in 2002 in a paper which was published in Nature Genetics (Ozaki et al.).  This work influenced human genetics researchers worldwide and led to the recent advances in the understanding of genetic component of common diseases. His RIKEN group subsequently reported dozens of genes susceptible to common diseases such as genes associated with myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic nephropathy, IgA nephropathy, osteoarthritis, brain Infarction, Kawasaki disease, asthma, atopic dermatitis, endometriosis, keloid disease, and Crohn disease.

Dr. Nakamura’s contribution to the field of human genetics and cancer research is reflected by his publication of more than 1,250 articles (at April 30, 2013). These articles include: 32 articles in American Journal of Human Genetics, 113 articles of Cancer Research, 84 articles in Genomics, & articles in Lancet, 17 articles in Nature, 2 articles in Nature Cell Biology, 63 articles in Nature Genetics, 7 articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, 49 articles in Oncogene and 11 articles in Science. These papers have been cited over 82,000 times in the scientific literature.

Dr. Nakamura joined the University of Chicago in April 2012 and continues his work in cancer genomics.  His laboratory is focused on the characterization of proteins that can be applicable for development of anti-cancer drugs. His recent work focuses on the molecular characterization of druggable molecular targets including the study of kinases and methyltransferases that are specifically expressed in cancer cells. His group has recently reported on some proteins that can methylate non-histone proteins that play key roles in carcinogenesis like Rb, VEGFR, PCNA, and HSP.  Using cancer-specific molecules, Dr. Nakamura and his team in collaboration with OncoTherapy Science, for which he is one of the founders, have developed therapeutic cancer vaccines and antibodies to treat cancer. In addition, they are also developing molecularly-targeted drugs. 


Latest News and Announcements

ScienceDaily, Featured Research reported Dr.Nakamura group's new anti-cancer drug

Date: October 22, 2014   Source: University of Chicago Medical Center   Summary: A new drug, OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice, scientists report. It inhibits the action of a protein that is overproduced by several tumor types but is rarely expressed in healthy adult tissues. Without it, cancer cells fail to complete the cell-division process and die.


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Drug in Japan found to eradicate human lung cancer in mice-The Japan Times News


WASHINGTON – A research team that includes a Japanese professor at the University of Chicago has shown that a drug being developed in Japan can eradicate lung cancer cells, according to a study published in the U.S. medical journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice

http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/10/22/highly-effective-new-anti-cancer-drug-shows-few-side-effects-mice     Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice

As injections or pills, drug inhibits an enzyme that is active in many cancer types

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2014 Reunion of Nakamura Lab Family in Atami, Japan.

After 5 years, Nakamura lab members and alumni were collected and gathered together to mark the great contributions from Dr. Nakamura to cancer patients.

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the 73rd JCA meeting in Yokohama, Japan. 2014, Sep 25-27

Nakamura Lab, 2014 JCA annual meeting     date time session by type 9/25/2014 (Thu) 9-10 am E16-1,  Novel approachs of molecular target therapy Dr. Park oral

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Congratulations! Dr. Nakamura has been selected as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher!

Highly Cited Researchers 2014 represents some of world’s leading scientific minds. Over three thousand researchers earned the distinction by writing the greatest numbers of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators℠ as Highly Cited Papers—ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.

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Summary of AACR 2014, 2013 in Nakamura Lab

AACR 2014 Presentation


1.    SMYD2-dependent PARP1 methylation promotes Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation activity in cancer cells

Lianhua Piao, Yusuke Nakamura, Ryuji Hamamoto


2.    TARBP1, a member of the SPOUT methyltransferase family, is involved in human carcinogenesis

Makoto Nakakido, Yusuke Nakamura, Ryuji Hamamoto


3.    Characterization of LASEP3 as a serological and prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target for lung cancer

Atsushi Takano, Yusuke Nakamura, Yataro Daigo.


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AACR 2014 --Hua Fang

Abstract Number: 3568 Presentation Title: Quantitative t cell receptor (tcr) repertoire analysis by next-generation sequencing (ngs) in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with therapeutic cancer peptide vaccines Presentation Time:

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AACR 2014 --Jae-Hyun Park

Abstract Number: 3226 Presentation Title: GALNT6 stabilizes GRP78 protein by O-type glycosylation Presentation Time: Tuesday, Apr 08, 2014, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

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AACR 2014 --Poh Yin Yew

Abstract Number: 3581 Presentation Title: Characterization of T cell repertoire in transplanted patients with graft versus host disease using next generation DNA sequencer Presentation Time:

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AACR 2014 --Ryuji Hamamoto

Abstract Number: 5156 Presentation Title: The oncogenic polycomb histone methyltransferase EZH2 methylates lysine 120 on histone H2B and competes ubiquitination in human cancer Presentation Time:

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AACR 2014 --Kembun Sone

Abstract Number: 5159 Presentation Title: The histone methyltransferase SUV39H2 is a novel target of anticancer therapy Presentation Time: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

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AACR 2014 --Makoto Nakakido

Abstract Number: 379 Presentation Title: TARBP1, a member of the SPOUT methyltransferase family, is involved in human carcinogenesis Presentation Time: Sunday, Apr 06, 2014, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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AACR 2014 --Lianhua Piao

Abstract Number: 377 Presentation Title: SMYD2-dependent PARP1 methylation promotes Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation activity in cancer cells Presentation Time: Sunday, Apr 06, 2014, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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AACR 2014 --Vassiliki Saloura

Abstract Number: 5153 Presentation Title: Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome candidate 1 as a potential novel therapeutic target for head and neck cancer Presentation Time: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

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AACR 2014 --Houda Alachkar

Abstract Number: 952 Presentation Title: Preclinical efficacy of maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK) inhibition in acute myeloid leukemia Presentation Time: Sunday, Apr 06, 2014, 4:35 PM - 4:50 PM

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U. of Chicago Hires High-Ranking Japanese Geneticist to Work on Anticancer Drugs

Orignal URL: http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-Chicago-Hires/130409/


By Katherine Mangan

The earthquake that devastated Japan last year opened up an opportunity for the University of Chicago to hire one of that country's top geneticists.

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Chicago Tribune-Breaking Business-Dr. Yusuke Nakamura, faculty, U. of C. Department of Medicine

Original URL: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-dr-yusuke-nakamura-faculty-u-of-c-department-of-medicine-20120113,0,4635755.photo


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"I would like to cure cancer"

Original URL: http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/features/nakamura.html

Renowned cancer researcher comes to UChicago with lofty goals

By landing renowned Japanese cancer researcher Yusuke Nakamura, the University of Chicago Medicine magnifies its potential for making scientific discoveries that lead to the development of lifesaving drugs.

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