Dr Yasuhiro Sakai, surgical pathologist, and Dr Kazuhiko Kuwahara, immunopathologist, are studying other important biological indicators of breast cancer and have made groundbreaking headway. Their research focuses on investigating the causes of sporadic, or non-hereditary, breast cancer. As sporadic breast cancer is a multifactorial disease, it is difficult to separate out the various biological processes behind its origins. However, slowly, as if assembling a puzzle piece by piece, it is possible to uncover significant findings that have the potential to bring about novel therapeutic approaches in the future. Specifically, Sakai and Kuwahara are working with the germinal centre B-cell-associated nuclear protein (GANP) gene, and examining how its alteration affects the development of sporadic breast cancer. "Immunologically, GANP is associated with maturation and activation of B lymphocytes. Amazingly, it also contributes to DNA damage and may arise various malignant tumours," states Sakai. By studying GANP's effect on B lymphocytes, or B cells responsible for a body's immunity, Sakai and Kuwahara are discerning how B lymphocyte maturation is related to the initiation of cancer formation. In doing so, they are joining the fields of tumour pathology and immunology.