Oncology bears a particular potential for translating research findings from the laboratory into clinical applications. Innovative strategies are urgently needed in the areas of diagnosis, patient risk stratification and treatment. The focus of the Division is to develop translational research programmes and clinical research. The tenet of the Division’s plans is that any significant progress toward the cure of cancer can only be based on an improved understanding of its pathogenesis, which, in turn, will lead to the development of improved diagnostics and more rationale therapeutic interventions.
The division is organized into 11 basic research units and 22 clinical research units with a total number of over 130 scientists including clinician-scientists. It comprises the Urological Research Institute (URI). View all the research units here.
Extensive collaborations and joint activities will accelerate the implementation of translational research through access to a large number of patients and samples and combined resource platforms.
The division is joining efforts with the Clinical Departments of Onco-hematology and Oncology to create a virtual cancer center with a network organization, multidisciplinary teams and defined programs for different tumors and takes advantage of the collaborative use of resources, platforms and infrastructures with other Research Divisions and facilities.
- Cancer Genetics;
- Cancer Microenvironment;
- Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy.
- Alice Dellatomasina, Anna Maria Gasparri, Barbara Colombo, Angelina Sacchi, Mimma Bianco, Tiziana Daniele, Antonio Esposito, Fabio Pastorino, Mirco Ponzoni, Fabrizio Marcucci, Flavio Curnis and Angelo Corti. Spatio-Temporal Regulation of Tumor Angiogenesis by Circulating Chromogranin A Cleavage and Neuropilin-1 Engagement. Cancer Research, February 22, 2019. Doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0289
- Gaviraghi M, et al.,Tumor suppressor PNRC1 blocks rRNA maturation by recruiting the decapping complex to the nucleolus, The EMBO Journal (2018) e99179
Focal deletions occur frequently in the cancer genome. However, the putative tumor‐suppressive genes residing within these regions have been difficult to pinpoint. To robustly identify these genes, a group of researchers led by Giovanni Tonon, head of Functional Genomics of Cancer Unit and director of the Translational Genomics and Bioinformatics Center, using an innovative computational approach uncovered a previously undescribed mechanism of tumor suppression.
- Lavorgna G, et al., Re: Exercise and Cancer Treatment: Balancing Patient Needs. Lancet Oncol 2018;19:715: Cancer Prevention and Treatment: More than Exercising., Eur Urol., 2018, 74(5)
Giovanni Lavorgna, senior researcher at Prostate cancer Unit of the Urological Research Insititute (URI), Andrea Salonia, director of URI and head of Sexual-reproductive medicine and functional urology Unit, and Francesco Montorsi, head physician of Urological operative Unit, commented in a Letter to the Editor the editorial “Exercise and cancer treatment: balancing patient needs” in The Lancet Oncology, which outlines the importance of physical exercise by cancer patients both as a treatment and as a preventive measure. However, the article also raises concerns about the feasibility of such an approach in the whole pool of unselected cancer patients, because the often-weakening effects of any treatment with curative intent, possibly coupled to patient fragility and comorbidity, could reduce the proportion of eligible individuals.
- Lavorgna G., et al., Re: Jinjing Chen, Ilaria Guccini, Diletta Di Mitri, et al. Compartmentalized Activities of the Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Sustain Lipogenesis in Prostate Cancer. Nat Genet 2018;50:219-28: Lipid Metabolism in Prostate Cancer: Expanding Patient Therapeutic Opportunities., Eur Urol., 2018, 74(1)
Giovanni Lavorgna, senior researcher at Prostate cancer Unit of the Urological Research Insititute (URI), Andrea Salonia, director of URI and head of Sexual-reproductive medicine and functional urology Unit, and Francesco Montorsi, head physician of Urological operative Unit, commented the two back-to-back Nature Genetics papers by Chen et al's groups concerning the genetics of lipid metabolism in prostate cancer (PCa). These manuscripts describe the effects of genomic changes on the capability of PCa cells to synthesize lipids.
- Lavorgna G., et al., Re: Ken J. Kron, Alexander Murison, Stanley Zhou, et al. TMPRSS2-ERG Fusion Co-opts Master Transcription Factors and Activates NOTCH Signaling in Primary Prostate Cancer. Nat Genet 2017;49:1336-45, Eur Urol., 2018, 73(4)
Giovanni Lavorgna, senior researcher at Prostate cancer Unit of the Urological Research Insititute (URI), Andrea Salonia, director of URI and head of Sexual-reproductive medicine and functional urology Unit, and Francesco Montorsi, head physician of Urological operative Unit, appreciated in a Letter to the Editor the report by Kron and colleagues, who used a combination of different genomic profiling approaches on tumor samples to demonstrate that modified chromatin states lead to greater ERG transcription in patients harboring the TMPRSS2-ERG (T2E) fusion gene.
Awards and grants
- "Francesca Mancuso" research prize 2018 awarded by Paolo Ghia
Paolo Ghia, deputy director of the division of Experimental oncology and head of B-cell neoplasia Unit, was awarded the prize "Francesca Mancuso 2018" in the field of oncology. The Angela Serra Association for Cancer Research awarded Ghia "for the many important studies conducted to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for the onset and progression of neoplastic diseases of B lymphocytes".
- A Horizon 2020 project won by Massimo Alfano
Massimo Alfano, senior researcher at Bladder cancer Unit at the Urological Research Institute, won a Horizon 2020 project as coordinators. The project, started on 1 October 2018, is about novel precision technological platforms to promote non-invasive early diagnosis, eradication and prevention of cancer relapse: proof of concept in the bladder carcinoma.
Group leader, Preclinical models of cancer Unit
Paolo Giorgio Arcidiacono
Clinical grouop leader, Biliopancreatic endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasonography Unit
Clinical group leader, Clinical onco-hematology Unit
Group leader, Lymphoid organ development and function Unit
Head, Tumor biology and vascular targeting Unit
Head, Pancreas translational and clinical Unit
Group leader, Biology of multiple myeloma Unit
Andrés José María Ferreri
Head, Lymphoma Unit
Group leader, Tumor microenvironment Unit
Head, B-cell neoplasia Unit and Chronic lymphocytic leukemia Unit
Clinical group leader, Gynecologic oncology Unit
Group leader, Cell signaling Unit
Head, Gastrointestinal surgery Unit
Head, Immuno-biotherapy of melanoma and solid tumors Unit
Pier Alberto Testoni
Head, Gastroenterology and gastrointestinal endoscopy Unit
Head, Functional genomics of cancer Unit
Biliopancreatic endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasonography
Paolo Giorgio Arcidiacono
Biology of Multiple Myeloma
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Functional genomics of cancer
Gastroenterology and gastrointestinal endoscopy
Pier Alberto Testoni
Immuno-biotherapy of melanoma and solid tumors
Lymphoid organ development and function
Andrés José Marìa Ferreri
Pancreas translational and clinical Unit
Preclinical models of cancer
Tumor biology and vascular targeting
One postdoctoral position is available under the supervision of Cristina Scielzo on a project founded by the Leukemia Research Foundation
One postdoctoral position is available at the Division of Experimental Oncology