Tetsu Kamitani, M.D., Ph.D. is an associate member of the GRU Cancer Center. Dr. Kamitani earned his M.D. (1985) and Ph.D. (1990) from Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan. Dr. Kamitani is a Professor in the Department of Medicine in the Medical College of Georgia at GRU.
Dr. Kamitani studies the diagnosis and therapy of cancer as well as the mechanism of tumorigenesis using a variety of biochemistry and cell biology approaches. His research focus is on malignant melanoma and adult T cell leukemia and lymphoma.
Dr. Kamitani recently found that the Parkinson’s disease-related protein a-synuclein is frequently expressed in tissues with malignant melanoma. He has been establishing a new diagnostic method for malignant melanoma using a-synuclein as a biomarker. In addition, he is currently investigating the role of a-synuclein in the tumorigenesis of melanoma.
Dr. Kamitani also investigates adult T cell leukemia and lymphoma (ATLL) caused by human T cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1). Tax oncoprotein plays an important role in tumorigenesis of ATLL. Tax leads to persistent phosphorylation of IKKb, resulting in chronic activation of the NF-kB signaling pathway. Dr. Kamitani recently discovered that a ubiquitin ligase Ro52 reduces the level of cellular Tax oncoprotein and phosphorylated IKKb through selective autophagy. Dr. Kamitani is currently trying to apply this novel mechanism for therapy of ATLL.