The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Former postdoctoral researcher Dr. Yasushi Kimura, MD PhD, of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has been chosen by the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) for a SIR Foundation - Excellence in Innovation Award. The award will enable Kimura to present his groundbreaking research on tumor control, performed while at UMass Amherst, at the SIR 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting from March 4 to 9 in Phoenix, Arizona. The title of his presentation is “Adjuvant Macrophage Repolarization to M1 Phenotype Augments Post-Ablation Local Tumor Control and Improves Overall Survival in a Murine Model of Bladder Tumors.”

In honor of his Excellence in Innovation Award, Kimura will receive a complimentary registration at the SIR Annual Scientific Meeting, a travel stipend of $1,000 for attending the meeting, the opportunity to present his research, meet peers, network with senior scientists, and participate in learning opportunities, and special recognition during the event, which is normally attended by some 4,000 participants.

Since leaving UMass, Kimura now works in his native Japan in the Department of Diagnosis and Interventional Radiology at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, where he is a medical doctor, conducts a clinical practice, and does medical research.

Kimura did his award-winning research under the guidance of his mentor, MIE Assistant Professor Govind Srimathveeravalli. Kimura also collaborated with Assistant Professor Ashish Kulkarni of the Chemical Engineering Department, MIE PhD student Neeraj Rajagopalan, PhD student Anujan Ramesh of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department, and BME undergrad Brian Simoes. This work was supported in part by a Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program Grant.

The purpose of Kimura’s UMass research was “to investigate the impact of adjuvant macrophage repolarization to inflammatory M1 phenotype on local tumor control and overall survival following irreversible electroporation of murine bladder tumors.”

Kimura reports that mice treated with his pioneering technique had greater reduction in local tumor growth, reduced lung metastases, and higher overall survival rates.

As Kimura concludes, “Repolarization of macrophages attracted to the site of ablation to a M1 phenotype promotes local tumor control, reducing the development of metastatic disease, and prolonging survival in a mouse model of bladder cancer.”

The Srimathveeravalli Research Group, where Kimura received training as a postdoctoral fellow while at UMass, does “research and technology for the delivery of non-ionizing energy that enables ablation or drug delivery to both tumors and healthy living tissue. Mathematical models guide the design of novel medical devices to deliver energy to different locations in the body.”

Srimathveeravalli also explains that “Our techniques allow the targeted modulation of barrier function in the tissue microenvironment (cell membrane, stroma, and blood vessels), creating new platforms for the study of cancer and other diseases. The knowledge gained from our experiments has applications in tumor ablation, drug delivery, immunotherapy, and tissue engineering.”

The SIR Foundation describes itself as a scientific foundation dedicated to fostering research in interventional radiology for the purposes of advancing scientific knowledge, increasing the number of skilled investigators, and developing innovative therapies that lead to improved patient care and quality of life. (March 2023) 

Article posted in Research