Research Summary

- Development of gene therapy, oncolytic virotherapy, and immunotherapy strategies for translational application to cancer
- Development of genetic engineering strategies for translational application to transplantation and regenerative medicine.

Research Funding

  • August 1, 2019 - July 31, 2022 - GALV-Based Retroviral Replicating Vectors for Glioma Gene Therapy , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R33NS104454
  • August 1, 2017 - July 31, 2022 - Retroviral Replicating Vector-mediated Gene Therapy for Ovarian Cancer , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA213119
  • August 1, 2019 - July 31, 2021 - GALV-Based Retroviral Replicating Vectors for Glioma Gene Therapy , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R21NS104454
  • July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2014 - Stem cell-based carriers for RCR vector delivery to glioblastoma , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Sponsor Award ID: TR2-01791


  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan, MD, 1986, Medicine
  • University of California, San Francisco, Residency, 1993, Laboratory Medicine
  • University of California, San Francisco, PhD, 1994, Endocrinology

Honors & Awards

  • 1994
    Tokyo Medical and Dental University Alumni Association, Young Investigators Research Award
  • 1995
    University of California San Francisco, Chancellor Julius R Krevans Distinguished Dissertation Award
  • 1996
    Board Certification in Clinical Pathology, American Board of Pathology
  • 1996
    Stop Cancer Foundation, Career Development Award
  • 1998
    Cooley's Anemia Foundation, New Investigator Award
  • 2006
    Clinical Impact Award, Global Life Science Innovation Competition, UCSF/QB3

Selected Publications

  1. Kushiya H, Hiraoka K, Suzuki T, Inoko K, Inagaki A, Niwa H, Sasaki K, Nakamura T, Tsuchikawa T, Shichinohe T, Jolly DJ, Kasahara N, Hirano S. Retroviral Replicating Vector Toca 511 (Vocimagene Amiretrorepvec) for Prodrug Activator Gene Therapy of Lung Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Nov 25; 14(23).  View on PubMed
  2. Guerra G, Kachuri L, Wendt G, Hansen HM, Mack SJ, Molinaro AM, Rice T, Bracci P, Wiencke JK, Kasahara N, Eckel-Passow JE, Jenkins RB, Wrensch M, Francis SS. The immunogenetics of viral antigen response is associated with subtype-specific glioma risk and survival. Am J Hum Genet. 2022 06 02; 109(6):1105-1116.  View on PubMed
  3. Collins SA, Shah AH, Ostertag D, Kasahara N, Jolly DJ. Clinical development of retroviral replicating vector Toca 511 for gene therapy of cancer. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2021 09; 21(9):1199-1214.  View on PubMed
  4. Chuntova P, Chow F, Watchmaker PB, Galvez M, Heimberger AB, Newell EW, Diaz A, DePinho RA, Li MO, Wherry EJ, Mitchell D, Terabe M, Wainwright DA, Berzofsky JA, Herold-Mende C, Heath JR, Lim M, Margolin KA, Chiocca EA, Kasahara N, Ellingson BM, Brown CE, Chen Y, Fecci PE, Reardon DA, Dunn GP, Liau LM, Costello JF, Wick W, Cloughesy T, Timmer WC, Wen PY, Prins RM, Platten M, Okada H. Unique challenges for glioblastoma immunotherapy-discussions across neuro-oncology and non-neuro-oncology experts in cancer immunology. Meeting Report from the 2019 SNO Immuno-Oncology Think Tank. Neuro Oncol. 2021 03 25; 23(3):356-375.  View on PubMed
  5. Haddad AF, Young JS, Mummaneni NV, Kasahara N, Aghi MK. Immunologic aspects of viral therapy for glioblastoma and implications for interactions with immunotherapies. J Neurooncol. 2021 Mar; 152(1):1-13.  View on PubMed
  6. Montoya ML, Kasahara N, Okada H. Introduction to immunotherapy for brain tumor patients: challenges and future perspectives. Neurooncol Pract. 2020 Oct; 7(5):465-476.  View on PubMed
  7. Chen SH, Sun JM, Chen BM, Lin SC, Chang HF, Collins S, Chang D, Wu SF, Lu YC, Wang W, Chen TC, Kasahara N, Wang HE, Tai CK. Efficient Prodrug Activator Gene Therapy by Retroviral Replicating Vectors Prolongs Survival in an Immune-Competent Intracerebral Glioma Model. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 20; 21(4).  View on PubMed
  8. Rodriguez-Blanco J, Li B, Long J, Shen C, Yang F, Orton D, Collins S, Kasahara N, Ayad NG, McCrea HJ, Roussel MF, Weiss WA, Capobianco AJ, Robbins DJ. A CK1α Activator Penetrates the Brain and Shows Efficacy Against Drug-resistant Metastatic Medulloblastoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 02 15; 25(4):1379-1388.  View on PubMed
  9. Kubo S, Takagi-Kimura M, Tagawa M, Kasahara N. Dual-vector prodrug activator gene therapy using retroviral replicating vectors. Cancer Gene Ther. 2019 05; 26(5-6):128-135.  View on PubMed
  10. Cloughesy TF, Landolfi J, Vogelbaum MA, Ostertag D, Elder JB, Bloomfield S, Carter B, Chen CC, Kalkanis SN, Kesari S, Lai A, Lee IY, Liau LM, Mikkelsen T, Nghiemphu P, Piccioni D, Accomando W, Diago OR, Hogan DJ, Gammon D, Kasahara N, Kheoh T, Jolly DJ, Gruber HE, Das A, Walbert T. Durable complete responses in some recurrent high-grade glioma patients treated with Toca 511 + Toca FC. Neuro Oncol. 2018 09 03; 20(10):1383-1392.  View on PubMed
  11. Kubo S, Takagi-Kimura M, Kasahara N. Efficient tumor transduction and antitumor efficacy in experimental human osteosarcoma using retroviral replicating vectors. Cancer Gene Ther. 2019 02; 26(1-2):41-47.  View on PubMed
  12. Inoko K, Hiraoka K, Inagaki A, Takahashi M, Kushibiki T, Hontani K, Takano H, Sato S, Takeuchi S, Nakamura T, Tsuchikawa T, Shichinohe T, Gruber HE, Jolly DJ, Kasahara N, Hirano S. Therapeutic activity of retroviral replicating vector-mediated prodrug activator gene therapy for pancreatic cancer. Cancer Gene Ther. 2018 08; 25(7-8):184-195.  View on PubMed
  13. Yagiz K, Rodriguez-Aguirre ME, Lopez Espinoza F, Montellano TT, Mendoza D, Mitchell LA, Ibanez CE, Kasahara N, Gruber HE, Jolly DJ, Robbins JM. A Retroviral Replicating Vector Encoding Cytosine Deaminase and 5-FC Induces Immune Memory in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Models. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2018 Mar 30; 8:14-26.  View on PubMed
  14. Hiraoka K, Inagaki A, Kato Y, Huang TT, Mitchell LA, Kamijima S, Takahashi M, Matsumoto H, Hacke K, Kruse CA, Ostertag D, Robbins JM, Gruber HE, Jolly DJ, Kasahara N. Retroviral replicating vector-mediated gene therapy achieves long-term control of tumor recurrence and leads to durable anticancer immunity. Neuro Oncol. 2017 Jul 01; 19(7):918-929.  View on PubMed
  15. Mitchell LA, Lopez Espinoza F, Mendoza D, Kato Y, Inagaki A, Hiraoka K, Kasahara N, Gruber HE, Jolly DJ, Robbins JM. Toca 511 gene transfer and treatment with the prodrug, 5-fluorocytosine, promotes durable antitumor immunity in a mouse glioma model. Neuro Oncol. 2017 Jul 01; 19(7):930-939.  View on PubMed
  16. Qin Y, Takahashi M, Sheets K, Soto H, Tsui J, Pelargos P, Antonios JP, Kasahara N, Yang I, Prins RM, Braun J, Gordon LK, Wadehra M. Epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2) promotes angiogenesis in glioblastoma multiforme. J Neurooncol. 2017 Aug; 134(1):29-40.  View on PubMed
  17. Shah AH, Jusué-Torres I, Ivan ME, Komotar RJ, Kasahara N. Pathogens and glioma: a history of unexpected discoveries ushering in novel therapy. J Neurosurg. 2018 04; 128(4):1139-1146.  View on PubMed
  18. Cicciarelli JC, Lemp NA, Chang Y, Koss M, Hacke K, Kasahara N, Burns KM, Min DI, Naraghi R, Shah T. Renal Transplant Patients Biopsied for Cause and Tested for C4d, DSA, and IgG Subclasses and C1q: Which Humoral Markers Improve Diagnosis and Outcomes? J Immunol Res. 2017; 2017:1652931.  View on PubMed
  19. Kozlowska AK, Tseng HC, Kaur K, Topchyan P, Inagaki A, Bui VT, Kasahara N, Cacalano N, Jewett A. Resistance to cytotoxicity and sustained release of interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in the presence of decreased interferon-γ after differentiation of glioblastoma by human natural killer cells. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2016 09; 65(9):1085-97.  View on PubMed
  20. Cloughesy TF, Landolfi J, Hogan DJ, Bloomfield S, Carter B, Chen CC, Elder JB, Kalkanis SN, Kesari S, Lai A, Lee IY, Liau LM, Mikkelsen T, Nghiemphu PL, Piccioni D, Walbert T, Chu A, Das A, Diago OR, Gammon D, Gruber HE, Hanna M, Jolly DJ, Kasahara N, McCarthy D, Mitchell L, Ostertag D, Robbins JM, Rodriguez-Aguirre M, Vogelbaum MA. Phase 1 trial of vocimagene amiretrorepvec and 5-fluorocytosine for recurrent high-grade glioma. Sci Transl Med. 2016 06 01; 8(341):341ra75.  View on PubMed

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