Shimadzu, Providence Cancer Institute, and Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research Partner to Advance Cancer Immunotherapy Research

Shimadzu Corporation (Shimadzu) has now entered into a two-year research agreement with and the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute (Providence) in Portland, Oregon, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research (JFCR) in Ariake, Tokyo, one of the advanced cancer treatment hospitals and research institutions in Japan.

Shimadzu and Providence have been collaborating to develop tools for personalized cancer immunotherapy since 2018 by applying mass spectrometry technology. Through this fruitful collaboration, we found the levels of pembrolizumab (Keytruda™ ) can be a useful on-treatment biomarker in the phase I study of galectin-3 inhibitor and pembrolizumab combination therapy 1. We also developed the multiplex antibody assay platform (refmAb-Q™ > nSMOL™ ) using a universal reference to increase throughput and improve the practicality of the nSMOL assay 2. In parallel to the above efforts, we have developed an assay to monitor small peptides presented by HLA molecules (immunopeptidome) on tumor cells to catalogue potential targets for cancer immunotherapy. We believe that the elucidation of each individual’s cancer immunopeptidome and the utility of antibody concentration as a biomarker will make a significant contribution to personalized cancer treatment.
Recently, JFCR developed an assay platform for the comprehensive characterization of cancer immunopeptidomes using clinically obtained cancer materials 3. As usage of HLA alleles differ between western countries like the US and Asian countries like Japan, this international project will likely produce rich immunopeptidome resources spanning multiple HLA alleles that may support the development of new cancer immunotherapies capable of benefiting a broader cohort of cancer patients.

Dr. Eric Tran, Associate Member, Adoptive Cell Therapy Laboratory at Providence, a leading scientist for T cell therapy, commented on the significance of the collaboration, “T cells targeting cancer mutations or cancer-causing viruses can mediate the regression of human cancers. However, not all mutations or viruses can be recognized by T cells because they are not presented at the cell surface. This collaboration will allow us to evaluate which cancer mutations and viral proteins are presented at the cell surface. Knowing this information will allow us to select the relevant mutations and viral proteins to target with T-cell based therapies.” And Dr. Koji Ueda, Project Leader, Realization of Personalized Cancer Medicine in JFCR, a leading scientist in cancer neoantigen profiling technology, summarized the potential of the collaboration, “Academia-hospital-industry collaboration among three international centers conducting advanced research in different fields of cancer immunotherapy will further accelerate the development of next generation cancer treatments and clinical applications”.

About Providence Cancer Institute

Providence Cancer Institute, a part of Providence St. Joseph Health, offers the latest in cancer services, including diagnostic, treatment, prevention, education, support and internationally-renowned research. Providence Cancer Institute is home to the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a world-class research facility located within the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center in Portland, Oregon, and is a recognized leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy since 1993. Visit  to learn more.

About Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research

Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research (JFCR) was established in 1908 as first professional cancer institute in Japan based on the principle of “Aiming to Improve the Well-being of People Everywhere by Achieving Better Cancer Control”. The synergy between the research division (Cancer Institute), which develops advanced cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the hospital division (Cancer Institute Hospital), which provides cutting-edge medical services to patients, has always been a driving force in cancer research and treatment in Japan. With 8,358 surgeries in fiscal year 2021, JFCR continues to play a role as the highest-volume cancer center in Japan. In addition, we opened the Cancer Precision Medicine Center in 2016 and Advanced Medical Development Center in 2019. We are working to realize the latest medical technologies for early-stage diagnosis, development of new treatment methods, and drug discovery, and are making daily progress toward realizing our basic principle more than 110 years after our founding. Visit  to learn more.



  1. Enhancing clinical and immunological effects of anti-PD-1 with belapectin, a galectin-3 inhibitor. Curti BD, Koguchi Y, Leidner RS, Rolig AS, Sturgill ER, Sun Z, Wu Y, Rajamanickam V, Bernard B, Hilgart-Martiszus I, Fountain CB, Morris G, Iwamoto N, Shimada T, Chang S, Traber PG, Zomer E, Horton JR, Shlevin H, Redmond WL. J Immunother Cancer. 2021 Apr;9(4):e002371. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-002371. PMID: 33837055
  2. A rapid and universal liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometry-based platform, refmAb-Q nSMOL, for monitoring monoclonal antibody therapeutics. Iwamoto N, Koguchi Y, Yokoyama K, Hamada A, Yonezawa A, Piening BD, Tran E, Fox BA, Redmond WL, Shimada T. Analyst. 2022 Sep 26;147(19):4275-4284. doi: 10.1039/d2an01032a. PMID: 35997223
  3. Differential ion mobility mass spectrometry in immunopeptidomics identifies neoantigens carrying colorectal cancer driver mutations. Minegishi Y, Kiyotani K, Nemoto K, Inoue Y, Haga Y, Fujii R, Saichi N, Nagayama S, Ueda K. Commun Biol. 2022 Aug 18;5(1):831. doi: 10.1038/s42003-022-03807-w. PMID: 35982173
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