Meet Dr. Toshiki Ochi

03/09/2014  |  Faces of The Princess Margaret |  Posted by: Dr. Toshiki Ochi

Why did you come to The Princess Margaret?
The Princess Margaret is one of the top cancer research facilities in the world and is an incredible place to develop my research career.  My supervisor, Dr. Naoto Hirano, had a very successful clinical trial, where immune therapy was used to treat patients with cancers.  I was very interested in his project and when Dr. Hirano moved to The Princess Margaret in 2011, I joined his team as a post-doctoral fellow.
What do you do, in layman terms?
In the last few decades, immune therapy showed promising results in the treatment of patients with cancers. My project focuses on modifying immune cells to attack and eliminate cancer cells.  Our ultimate goal is to transfer these findings into the clinic.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is to discuss new scientific discoveries with my colleagues.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
We have been investigating a key molecule on tumor-specific T cells, called T-cell receptor (TCR), which is responsible for identifying cancer cells. We have isolated a TCR which possesses enhanced ability to recognize cancer cells, but not normal cells.
What qualities does it take to work at The Princess Margaret? 
I think the most important thing is patience. It is important to keep your research going despite any obstacles.  Even though it can proceed little by little, eventually you will progress further.  Never give up.  Where there is a will, there is a way.
What does Personalized Cancer Medicine mean to you?
I am a doctor as well as a post-doctoral fellow.  As a hematologists, personalized cancer medicine is not only to apply tailor-made immune therapy or molecular targeting drugs with enhanced cancer-specificity but diminished adverse events to patients, but also means to listen to the patients carefully and individually offer what they really want.
If you could have a super power – what would it be and why?
I would create my clone and share my work with him to enjoy my life both professionally and privately.
Cat or Dog person?
I don’t have any pets, but I am more of a cat person.
What was the first album you ever bought? Or the first concert you ever went to?
I’m addicted to listening to “The Beatles” tracks.  The first album I ever bought was “A hard day’s night”.