NAGASAKI UNIVERSITY GLOBAL COE PROGRAM - Global Strategic Center for Radiation Health Risk Control
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Report on Dr. Eric J Hall International Symposium Report

In celebration of Professor Eric J. Hall's retirement, international symposium was in Columbia University, morning side campus, where the famous law library is founded. Dr. Hall is an extremely famous professor in the field of radiation biology as well as in radiation oncology. He has been a director of Columbia University, Center for Radiological Research, for many many years. After his over 40 years career, he has finally decided to retire. Two days' symposium was held between October 13 and 14, 2008, and over 120 scientists, physicians, and radiotherapists were gathered to celebrate his retirement. From Japan, Professor Komatsu from Kyoto University and myself were the only two persons invited. It was an outstanding symposium, which I never experienced.

The first day was started from the history of Dr. Eric, whose talk was given by the new director of Columbia University, Center for Radiological Research, Professor David Brenner. Dr. Hall is always a pioneer in our field, but, if we looked back into his career, we completely understand the reason, as his research key words are all that are thought to be the key words in the present research, those including radiation sensitivity, dose-rate issue, oxygen effects, so and so on. These must be the reason why his book entitled "Radiobiology for the Radiologists" has been edited for over 6 times.

Introduction of his history was followed by the scientific talks, whose subtitle is "". After lunch, our session entitled "low dose radiation effects" was held. There were three speakers including me. The first two were Dr. Eric Wright from Dundee University, UK, who was invited to Nagasaki by the former 21st COE program, and Dr. William Morgan, who is the radiation biology international consortium member of the current GCOE program. He used to be in University of Maryland, but very recently, he moved to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State. My talk was about a role of higher-order chromatin structure on non-targeted effects. We have hypothesized that altered chromatin structures caused by large deletions could be DNA damage memories. In fact, the presence of DNA damage memory, or radiation signature, has been discussed for many years. However, there are no solid data indicating their presence. In my talk, deletions for over several megabases were shown to be transmitted through the progeny of surviving cells. Those large deletions are particularly unstable, as delayed chromosomal instability was quite often observed in chromosomes harboring large deletions. Our conclusion was extensively discussed by the participants, and I am quite convinced that our GCOE program should contribute to the better understandings of the effects of low dose irradiation on human beings.

The second day was started from the talk given by Dr. Cox and Dr. Komaki from MD Anderson Cancer Center. They did impressive talks on recent advances in radiation therapy. Their therapies are based upon IMRT with protons, which enables particle deposition on the exact tumor tissues. This advanced physical targeting method has been imported to Japan for many years, but, apart from this issue, I should mention one thing, which is the recent philosophy underlying the newly advanced radiotherapy, which is "Biology is always being aside". Until recently, the development of radiation facility is what we needed. But now, as IMRT is one of the ordinary methods for radiotherapy, next step cannot be accomplished without the aid of biology. For example, cancer tissues are usually mixed with normal tissues. Currently available imaging is impossible to discriminate against normal tissues from cancer tissues. However, biological difference, for example different activity of MAP kinase differentially lights on the cancer tissues, which sit right beside the normal tissues. This is an extraordinary imaging technique, which becomes possible with the Biology. I believe that such information could be provided by the biology side. Unfortunately, basic research activity in radiation oncology department is rather weak in Japan so that our GCOE program should contribute to the reorganiation of a radiation oncology network, which makes translational research possible.

At the end of the symposium, Dr. Hall once again expressed his sincere thanks to all the participants. I am pretty sure that his philosophy is in everyone's mind. As our GCOE program invited many of the participants as an international consortium member, we are ready to provide chances to communicate his philosophy and to translate his idea. It is what we should do, and it is what I want to do.

Keiji Suzuki, Department of Molecular Medicine
  International Radiation Health Sciences Research
    Atomic Bomb Disease Medicine Research
    Radiation Basic Life Sciences Research
    Workshop / Special Meeting
    Academic Exchange
    Reports on Overseas' Conferences and Meetings
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Publicity Activities
  Truth of radiology (in Japanese)
  Radiation Q&A (in Japanese)
    Introduction of Global Strategic Center for Radiation Health Risk Control
(in Japanese) [PDF 9MB]
    Visiting Report of Chelnobyl
Yasuyuki Taira, Graduate Student
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