Dr. Takemasa Tsuji joined the faculty in 2013 as an Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. After obtaining his PhD, he conducted laboratory experiments as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratories of Dr. Takashi Nishimura (Hokkaido University, JAPAN), Dr. Lloyd J. Old (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Institute/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY), and Dr. Kunle Odunsi (Roswell Park Cancer Institute, NY). His research during postdoctoral training has been focused on understanding the mechanisms of immunologic recognition of human cancers such that specific immunotherapies can be applied on a personalized basis.
Dr. Tsuji’s research in the past few years has led to the identification and characterization of a unique CD4+ T cell subset, which is named “tumor-recognizing CD4+ helper T cell (TR-CD4 cell)," that directly recognizes cancer cells. Through direct recognition of cancer cells, TR-CD4 cells significantly inhibit tumor cell growth and potently enhance anti-tumor functions of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. He also elucidated novel antigen presentation mechanisms that are involved in the presentation of intracellular tumor antigen proteins to CD4+ T cells. He recently established a method to generate large numbers of TR-CD4 cells by gene-engineering with T cell receptor (TCR) gene for the development of novel tumor adoptive T cell therapy using TR-CD4 cells.