Greetings from Katsuhiko Uesaka, M.D., Ph.D., the President
In April, 2023, I was honored to be appointed as the new president of the Shizuoka Cancer Center, as a successor to the former president Ken Yamaguchi, M.D., Ph.D.
Founded in April, 2002, the Shizuoka Cancer Center (SCC) has been providing the best cancer medicine and promoting the Pharma Valley Project ever since. The SCC celebrated the 20th anniversary in 2022, and during those years since the establishment, it has become one of the three top cancer centers in Japan for the increasing number of cancer treatment cases. With highly-evaluated clinical outcomes and medical researches, the SCC has been authorized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as a Designated Cancer Hospital for Shizuoka prefecture, Special Functioning Hospital and Cancer Genomic Medicine Core Hospital. The history has been compiled in “The Commemorative Book for the 20th Anniversary of the Shizuoka Cancer Center and the Pharma Valley Project: The Challenge toward Ideal Cancer Medicine,” which can be browsed in the official website of the SCC.
We have always taken proactive manners in exploring new cancer medicine. For instance, we have adopted innovative, state-of-the-art medical technologies and devices including robot-assisted surgery (with the da Vinci surgical robot system), molecular-targeted agents and immune checkpoint inhibitors in the field of chemotherapy, proton therapy and high-precision radiation therapy. In addition, the hospital and the research institute at the SCC have been collaborating for an innovative cancer gene research called the Project HOPE (High-tech Omics-based Patient Evaluation). Under this project, cancer genes from more than 10,000 patients have been evaluated, which contributes highly to the advancement of the cancer genomic medicine.
At the SCC, “We emphasize patients’ perspectives” has been the ethos and in order to accomplish it, the “multidisciplinary team approach for medicine” has been offered to cure and care cancer patients. To mention a few, professional support staff at the “Patient and Family Support Center” provide a patient and his/her family with a seamless support from the first visit for medical consultation to the hospital discharge. We have established the field to heighten the quality of life of cancer patients. For instance, patients receive oral care as well as rehabilitation along with his/her cancer treatment. In addition, the “Supportive Therapy Center” opened as the first case in Japan. At the “Patient Support & Inquiries” office, more than 10,000 miscellaneous inquiries about cancer are answered each year. These efforts to support cancer patients and their families are going to be increasingly crucial for cancer medicine in Japan, where the aged population is rapidly becoming large.
Along with the SCC, it has been 20 years since the Pharma Valley Project started. Based on the accomplishments made during those years to facilitate the cluster development of regional medical industries, the conception of the “Medical Garden City” is about to be carried out focusing on the eastern area of Shizuoka prefecture. The SCC is going to be participating in this new project from the standpoint of a medical institution.
Today cancer medicine is foreseen to go through accelerated changes derived from the advancement of digital technologies including AI and Dx. Yet, no matter how much advancement is made, it is not AI that provides patients with cancer treatments. The Shizuoka Cancer Center firmly maintains the ethos to emphasize the patients’ perspectives and continues working hard to pursue “Ideal Cancer Medicine” for another 20 years to come.