Kenneth Tanabe, M.D.
Physician Investigator (Cl)
Surgery, Research Institute
Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Tanabe directs a research laboratory focused on 1) hepatocellular carcinoma prevention; and 2) experimental gene therapy for liver tumors. His laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1993.
Research in the area of hepatocellular carcinoma focuses on signal transduction pathways involved during malignant transformation of hepatocytes, and molecular mechanisms of cirrhosis progression.
Agents that prevent progression of cirrhosis or prevent development of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic livers are examined in preclinical models before development of clinical trials. The effects on liver are monitored via a gene signature, in collaboration with Yujin Hoshida and Todd Golub at the Broad Institute.
Research in experimental gene therapy for liver tumors focuses on development of replication-conditional viruses that destroy tumors by virtue of replication in the tumor cells, a process that simultaneously produces daughter progeny virion that can infect adjacent tumor cells.
Significant progress has been made in alteration of the viral genome to restrict viral replication in normal cells. One virus is now in clinical trial for patients with primary or secondary liver tumors.