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Jean L. Nakamura

M.D.

Associate Professor In Residence,
Radiation Oncology

1600 Divisadero Street, Suite H1031
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: 415 353-9694
Email: JNakamura[at]RadOnc.ucsf.edu

Professional Focus

Dr. Nakamura's research interests include investigations in radiosurgery as well as the molecular biology of malignant glioma. She is interested in examining radiotherapy conformality and its impact on tumor control and clinical outcome, particularly with respect to preservation of neurologic function. Because several radiosurgery techniques are currently used to treat central nervous system tumors, she has compared Gamma Knife radiosurgery and Intensity Modulated Radiosurgery for complex skull base lesions in order to understand the dosimetric differences between these modalities, and the implications on normal tissue function. She is extending this research line to include an analysis of Cyberknife radiosurgery plans, which may add to our understanding of the relative merits and indications for radiosurgical techniques.

In addition, Dr. Nakamura has on-going basic science studies and translational studies for the treatment of malignant gliomas. She previously showed that PI3-Kinase based signaling aberrations, which are common in malignant gliomas, can contribute to the notable radioresistance of these tumors through the major signaling molecule PKB/Akt. She has extended these initial findings with mechanistically oriented studies to determine how the PKB/Akt downstream effector mTOR contributes to gliomagenesis. Recent results from her laboratory suggest that mTOR and its regulatory protein raptor, contribute significantly towards transformation in both engineered human glioma models as well as established human malignant glioma cell lines. Although mTOR is known to be involved in regulating cell growth via its nutrient sensing roles, how these functions support tumor development is not understood. Her studies add significant insight into how mTORâ??s physiologic functions may be usurped during transformation, and further, how this mechanism may be therapeutically targeted.

Combined therapy (chemotherapy delivered concurrently with radiotherapy) is a major paradigm in the management of malignant gliomas, and Dr. Nakamura envisions developing her primary findings and using her expertise as a radiation oncologist to develop treatment protocols for CNS tumors. She hopes that understanding the molecular underpinnings of gliomagenesis and the technical aspects of conformal radiotherapy delivery will result in more, and healthier, survivors of central nervous system tumors.