Dr. Naohiko Ikegaki is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He has been studying the biology of neuroblastoma and the MYC family proteins for more than 25 years.
During his early years at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequent years at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he had a close contact with Drs. Audrey E. Evans and Giulio D’Angio, who are the pioneers in pediatric oncology. From the interaction with these great mentors, he learned a great deal about history, biology, and therapy of pediatric cancers, especially about neuroblastoma.
This experience has laid foundation for Dr. Ikegaki’s research throughout the years. For example, his group in collaboration with Dr. Xao X. Tang has delineated a concept of €œfavorable neuroblastoma genes, whose high-level expression predicts favorable neuroblasoma outcome, and forced expression of these genes inhibits growth of unfavorable neuroblastoma cells.
We further showed that favorable neuroblastoma gene expression could be augmented in unfavorable neuroblastoma cells by epigenetic modifiers and an increased expression of these genes was associated with suppression of neuroblastoma growth and metastasis.