UCSF Search Toolbar
UCSF Radiation Oncology
Doctor's Picture

Jean L. Nakamura


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

General Overview

We are fundamentally interested in why cancers develop, and we believe that learning about the roots of cancer development will lead to better cancer therapies, more cures and even cancer prevention. We've chosen to focus on different but related problems in cancer medicine.

The first area we study is Neurofibromatosis I (also known as NF1), which is a genetic syndrome that can lead to tumors in children. Individuals with NF1 can develop brain tumors and tumors along their spines (as well as cancers in other organs). This is an incurable disease that can lead to many complications and even death. We have developed experimental systems (please enter Research Website Access, go to Research tab) to study how mutations causing this disease actually lead to tumor formation, with the goal of using this information to develop better therapies.

A second major area of research is trying to understand why second cancers develop in some childhood cancer survivors. Children who survive cancer unfortunately have a much greater risk of developing a second cancer, which in many cases is a devastating development. Currently there is little that can be done to prevent this. My research focuses on analyzing these second cancers from childhood cancer survivors (some of whom are now adults) for problems in the genetic code. By studying the abnormalities in the genetic code of second cancers, we expect to understand the biological processes leading to second cancers, and one day prevent these complications so that survivors of pediatric cancers have the best chance possible of living healthy adult lives. Some of the tools and approaches we've developed are described in more detail in our Research Website (click on Research Website Access).

While our studies focus on issues that affect children, these disease processes also affect adults. In fact, the biology we study is fundamental to cancer and is relevant to cancers in adults. Working with multiple outstanding collaborators is enabling research into diverse cancers.