Advisory Board

Professor Fuyu Tamanoi

The Discovery News article Nanoimpellers Zap Cancer Cells From Within said

A new nanodevice loaded with powerful cancer-killing drugs can operate inside a living cell to zap cancer cells in response to light.
The nanomachine, created by researchers in California, is called a nanoimpeller and is the first of its kind.
“We have developed a machine to deliver the cancer drugs only in the cancer cells and not normal cells,” said Fuyuhiko Tamanoi, a study author and scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Our research is the first demonstration of controlled and on-demand release of anticancer drugs using mechanized nanoparticles in living cells,” said Tamanoi.

Fuyu Tamanoi, Ph.D. is Professor and Vice Chair, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, Director, JCCC Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area, and Member, California NanoSystems Institute.
Fuyu has served on the UCLA School of Medicine and UCLA College faculty since he joined the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics in 1993. He became a full professor in 1997. Since 1996, he has been a Director of Signal Transduction Program Area at Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He is interested in molecular switches and cellular signaling networks. His research focuses on the Ras family proteins that act as a nanoscale switch by shuttling between a GTP bound active form and a GDP-bound inactive form. Current research is aimed at characterizing two members of the Ras family proteins called Ras and Rheb. While Ras activates signaling pathways such as Raf/MAP kinase signaling, Rheb activates mTOR signaling that regulates protein synthesis. Overactivation of these molecular switches forms the basis of human diseases such as cancer, neurofibromatosis, and tuberous sclerosis.
Another research focus of his is to carry out nanoscale modulation of the signaling network. To accomplish this, small organic molecule compounds that can regulate the activity of molecular switches have been identified. One type of compound blocks their lipid modification resulting in the inhibition of their membrane association. Experiments are underway to package these compounds into nanoparticles and achieve nanodelivery into human cancer cells.
Fuyu coauthored IRA2, a second gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that encodes a protein with a domain homologous to mammalian ras GTPase-activating protein, Spatial regulation of the exocyst complex by Rho1 GTPase, Identification of Ras farnesyltransferase inhibitors by microbial screening, Yeast Screens for Inhibitors of Ras-Raf Interaction and Characterization of MCP Inhibitors of Ras-Raf Interaction, Farnesyltransferase inhibitors induce cytochrome c release and caspase 3 activation preferentially in transformed cells, and Analysis of the transforming potential of the human H-ras gene by random mutagenesis.
From 1980 to 1985, he was a senior staff investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he worked on adenovirus DNA replication. From 1985 to 1993, he was an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, where he initiated studies on lipid modification of the Ras family proteins. His laboratory research centers on signal transduction and signal transduction inhibitors. He is currently exploring ways to deliver signal transduction inhibitors using nanoparticles.
Fuyu earned his B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Tokyo. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at Nagoya University in 1977. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, where he worked on bacteriophage DNA replication.
Watch his CBS interview. Read New Nanomaterials To Deliver Anticancer Drugs To Cells Developed and Nanomachines to Treat Cancer.