Environmental "poisoning" causes "cancer" in humans.


(1) Every life is always exposed to the environment. There is always an environment around you. The various components containing in the environment are called "environmental factors". And every life is influenced by "environmental factors".

We would like to clarify how various "toxic" components contained in the "environment" affect humans and other life forms.

(2) Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are also one of the environmental factors. UV exposure to the body (skin) develops not only cosmetic problems such as stains and wrinkles, but life-threatening diseases such as keratosis and skin cancer.

(3) The Ministry of the Environment takes measures against the risks and prevention methods of various diseases caused by ultraviolet irradiation as priority issues.
It is estimated that a 1% decrease in the ozone layer, a natural barrier to protect against ultraviolet light, will increase the number of skin cancer patients per year by 10,000.

(4) In particular, melanoma is highly aggressive, and the 5-year relative survival rate of stage 4 (IV) is extremely low. The incidence of melanoma is high in Europe, the United States, and Australia, and it is due to the increase in UV radiation at high latitudes and the amount of skin melaninization.

(5) It is very important to elucidate the developmental mechanism of serious melanoma. We have identified a large number of novel genes involved in the melanoma development, such as ZFP28, c-RET, MOBKL2B, GNG2, ESPIN, PLEXINC1, DTX3L, and TFCP2 in our previous studies, and performed various analyzes about melanoma development (See each paper for Achievements). We will continue research on carcinogenesis and skin diseases caused by UV irradiation.

(6) Securing safe water is one of the most important issues for life including human. There are nearly 800 million people drinking unsafe water in the world, and the top 10 countries are in Asian and African countries, accounting for more than 60% of the world. The “water” that enters human bodies also contains various “environmental factors” and causes various diseases.

(7) Among the “environmental factors” contained in water, Arsenic (As) contamination of drinking well water is a global problem. Because there is only water to drink from well water contaminated with high concentrations of arsenic, continuing drinking arsenic-polluted water causes chronic arsenic poisoning. Various serious diseases such as dermatoses, keratosis, skin diseases such as Bowen's disease, skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, diabetes, neurological diseases, and internal cancers are developed by chronic exposure of arsenic. 200 million people use arsenic-polluted water as drinking water around the world.

(8) We performed a health checkup of people living in arsenic-contaminated areas in Bangladesh and found that arsenic actually affects human skin pigmentation (melanin deposition).Furthermore, it was revealed that arsenic exposure to mice shows similar symptoms, and these symptoms are caused by increased expression of a protein called Endothelin-1 (ET-1) that plays an important role in melanin synthesis. (Yajima, et al., ArchToxicol. 2017.)

(9) Recently, it has become clear that other heavy metals are involved in the onset and severity of various arsenic-mediated diseases. (Yajima, et al., ArchToxicol. 2012.) We are currently elucidating the pathogenesis of various diseases induced by arsenic and developing preventive and therapeutic methods.