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Kathleen M. Sakamoto

Academic Appointments

  • Shelagh Galligan Professor in the School of Medicine

Contact Information

  • Clinical Offices
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 725 Welch Rd MC 5913 Palo Alto, CA 94304
    Tel Work (650) 497-8953 Fax (650) 497-8101
    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 725 Welch Rd MC 5913 Palo Alto, CA 94304
    Tel Work (650) 497-8953 Fax (650) 497-8101
  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email Tel (650) 725-7126
    Not for medical emergencies or patient use


Clinical Focus

  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation/Cancer Biology, Bass Cancer Center, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (2011 - present)
  • Fellowship Program Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine (2011 - 2013)

Honors and Awards

  • Standing Member, NIDDK-D Study Section for Training Grants and K awards (2011-present)
  • Chair, Myeloid Biology Subcommittee, American Society of Hematology (2011)
  • Brett Ely Visiting Professor in Pediatric Oncology, University of Colorado and Children's Hospital Denver (2011)
  • Outstanding advances in cancer research award, Mendiburu Magic Foundation (2010)
  • Fernbach Distinguished Visiting Professor Lectureship, Texas Children's Cancer Center (2009)
  • Gift of Hope Award, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (2008)
View All 10honors and awards of Kathleen Sakamoto

Professional Education

Fellowship: Children's Hospital Los Angeles CA (1991)
Board Certification: Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (1989)
Residency: Children's Hospital Los Angeles CA (1988)
Board Certification: Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, American Board of Pediatrics (1992)
Medical Education: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine OH (1985)
B.A.: Williams College, Biology (1979)
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Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Transcriptional regulation in leukemogenesis

CREB is a leucine zipper transcription factor that controls cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival. CREB is overexpressed in bone marrow cells from the majority of patients with acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia. CREB transgenic mice develop myeloproliferative disease, i.e. preleukemia, but not acute leukemia. Therefore, CREB is an oncogene that requires additional mutations. We are studying other cooperating oncogenes that contribute to leukemogenesis. In addition, downstream target genes are being explored. We are also studying a small molecule inhibitor of CREB for the treatment of acute leukemia.

Targeted therapy for leukemia and other cancers

In collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, we are testing novel compounds to target specific signaling molecules in AML. Among the small molecules being studied in vitro and in vivo are inhibitors of receptor tyrosine kinases, aurora kinases, and anti-apoptotic proteins. Mechanistic pathways are being investigated.

Protacs are chimeric molecules to target cancer causing proteins for ubiquitination and degradation. We have demonstrated the feasibility of using this approach in prostate and breast cancer cell lines to target the androgen and estrogen receptors for ubiquitination and degradation, resulting in apoptosis. Approaches are being developed to design Protacs for clinical trials in humans.

Signaling Pathways in bone marrow failure syndromes

Defects in ribosome biogenesis have been associated with specific bone marrow failure syndromes, such as Diamond Blackfan Anemia. We are studying the signaling pathways that are altered by deficiency in specific ribosomal protein subunits. Zebrafish, mouse, and human cells are being used to characterize p53-dependent and –independent pathways mediating aberrant erythropoiesis and increased risk of cancer in these patients. Novel drugs are being tested.




Postdoctoral Advisees

Katharine BrockNicolas CurrierMinyoung Youn

Graduate and Fellowship Program Affiliations



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Publication Topics

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