The Sasaki Foundation is a medical research organization, consisting of Sasaki Institute, Kyoundo Hospital, and Shonan Medical Examination Center. Our foundation, as stipulated in its ‘Articles of Incorporation,’ is committed to promoting our people’s health. To this end we are conducting the research and development of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, among other diseases, attempting to advance medicine and human resources, and striving to promote and disseminate better medical care. In 1939 the Foundation was authorized as an incorporated foundation by the former Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and as a public interest incorporated foundation in 2012.
Dr. Takaoki Sasaki, the first President of the Foundation and Director of the Institute, was awarded the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy in 1924 for “Studies on Bacterial Degradation of Protein and Constituent Amino Acids, and Synthesis of Amino Acids.” In 1936, along with Dr. Tomizo Yoshida, he had the honor of receiving his second Imperial Prize for “Experimental production of liver carcinoma by feeding with o-amidoazotoluene.” It is indeed the first achievement in the world to generate carcinoma in any internal organ of an animal by feeding rats with a chemically defined agent. In 1940, Dr. Sasaki was awarded the Order of Culture. After succeeding Dr. Sasaki as Director of the Institute, Dr. Yoshida was awarded his second Imperial Prize for the “Pathological studies on Yoshida sarcoma” in 1953 and received the Order of Culture in 1959.
The cancer research centered around animal-based studies, initiated by the two great pioneers, had thereafter made significant contributions to the development of medicine by providing new insights. Building on this long history and tradition, we have continued clinically relevant medical research. Our mission is to encourage doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to identify and address with a flash of inspiration some medical questions potentially conductive to the patients’ benefit in the clinical setting, with a view to mitigation and treatment. We are now engaged in the following four non-profit activities;
- Research on cancer and other diseases
- Therapeutic research devoted to the maintenance and improvement of patients’ quality of life
- Preventive medical research on cancer and other diseases
- Programs to train clinical investigators
To address the raised medical problems, the Institute carries out basic research, delivering the solutions through the experimental findings while the Hospital and the Medical Examination Center perform clinical research by taking advantage of clinical information.
The Sasaki Institute is largely dedicated to the basic research on diseases, mainly cancer, among our non-profit activities. We strive to move forward the studies from the perspective different than others, enhancing our position in the scientific community. We are doing the cancer research to substantiate ‘living with cancer.’ Cancer is a genetic disease. Given that mutations in DNA inevitably occur in our lifetime, it is quite hard to avoid developing cancer. After treatment, the regrowth of remaining cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and metastasized cancer cells all cause a big challenge. The time to cancer recurrence varies from several months to decades. One critical direction is to devise the therapeutic intervention strategies to reconcile with dormant cancer cells for escaping death from cancer by delaying the onset of cancer regrowth as long as possible.
Dr. Sasaki passed away in 1966. At a lecture to commemorate the first anniversary of his death Dr. Yoshida said, “The current progress of cancer research is remarkable, which will give rise to excellent medications in the 20th century. At least, we will live in a future where we do not die from cancer.” At the moment Dr. Yoshida’s expectation is not met yet. However, we believe that a society free from cancer deaths in his words is worth pursuing. We are seeking to help people live well with cancer. As for the diseases other than cancer, diabetes is one of the significant disorders with many unsolved problems, which will also be addressed by the experimental research. The Sasaki Institute is to deploy these strategies with five departments built on distinct but interrelated /complementary research disciplines: genome, metabolome, interactome, proteome, and phenome.
2018 early summer
Takao Sekiya, Ph.D.