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Takashi Sugimura has accomplished many scientific achievements in the field of biochemistry and in cancer research. Sugimura's group identified the novel polymer poly(ADP-ribose) in parallel to P. Mandel's and O. Hayaishi's groups and demonstrated the presence of the enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). He also discovered the cognate catabolic enzyme, poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) and further elucidated the biology of poly(ADP-ribose). The astonishing discovery of pierisin, an apoptogenic peptide that ADP-ribosyaltes DNA, profoundly illuminates his scientific character and curiosity as well. Sugimura's work in cancer research shows an extraordinarily wide range, which includes the establishment of new methods in chemical carcinogenesis, the identification of various environmental mutagens/carcinogens and new tumour promoters. He also established the concept that cancer is a disease of DNA and contributed to the development of the concept of the multi-step model of carcinogenesis.