Hiroshi Shiku, MD, PhD, an immunologist whose work helped establish the foundation of cancer immunotherapy, died September 4, 2022, at the age of 79.
Shiku was born January 15, 1943. He graduated from Nagoya University School of Medicine in 1967. After completing his residency, he took a position as a research fellow in tumor immunology at Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) for Cancer Research, the basic and translational research arm of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He later worked as a research associate and was promoted to an SKI associate member position in 1972, a position that he held through 1979.
During this time, Shiku spent several years working with Herbert F. Oettgen, MD, and Lloyd J. Old, MD, at MSKCC. The team made several foundational discoveries in immunology; for example, they found that melanoma patients had antibodies in their blood that recognized and reacted against antigens on their melanoma cells. This was one of the first key pieces of evidence that the immune system could precisely target cancer cells and launch responses against them.
After returning to Japan in 1981, Shiku obtained his doctorate from Nagoya University School of Medicine. In 1986, he was appointed to the Department of Oncology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, as professor and chairperson. In 1994, he joined the Mie University School of Medicine.
Most recently, he was professor and chairman of immuno-gene therapy at the Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Center for Comprehensive Cancer Immunotherapy. There, his work focused on the therapeutic potential of engineered cancer antigen–specific T cells.
Shiku joined the AACR in 1978. Since 2008, he was a member of the Cancer Immunology Working Group. He was a senior editor of Cancer Immunology Research from the time the journal launched in 2013 until his death.
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