Biology of Multiple Myeloma

Marina Ferrarini


Research associate, Biology of multiple myeloma Unit

My personal background and research experience focus on immunology and cancer. I was trained in Pittsburgh, where I was involved in the characterization of fibroblasts and lymphocytes infiltrating Scleroderma skin. Back to Italy, I exploited this expertise in the study of anti-tumor immunity mediated by resident gamma delta T cells, contributing to the identification of “stress molecules” as signals expressed by tumor cells and recognized by the immune system. Studies on gamma delta T cells were also instrumental to the investigation on the molecular mechanisms of activation-induced cell death in the termination of an immune response. This knowledge also allowed to diagnose a patient with a rare disease due to an inherited CD95/Fas mutation.

More recently I was involved in the study of Multiple Myeloma (MM), particularly on the anti-tumor effects of gamma-delta T lymphocytes and on MM cell/bone marrow interactions and impact of anti-MM drugs, the latter also by the use of an innovative technology for 3D tissue culture. Finally, I substantially contributed to the knowledge on a rare form of histiocytosis named Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD). In particular, I published the first research on ECD pathogenesis, unraveling a complex inflammatory network inside lesions, which in turn lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets with improvement of ECD prognosis, and also to increased awareness of the disease.