Group leader, Tumor microenvironment Unit
Cancer is and has been the leit-motiv of my professional career.
My experience in the laboratory of Tumor Immunology (HSR, head prof C. Rugarli) and in the laboratory of professor Fritz Bach (University of Minnesota) gave me a profound knowledge on immunological mechanisms/responses that control cancer. In these years, I have substantially contributed to the identification of the in vitro role of cytokines, particularly recombinant interleukin- 2 (rIL-2) in activating T lymphocytes (LAK cells) against cancer and have actively participated to the development of the european clinical trial “ Immunological testing of clinical immunotherapy protocols with recombinant cytokines infusion in neoplastic patients” led by Prof. Rugarli (Department of Internal Medicine, HSR). The latter contributed to establish the efficacy of rIL-2 versus rIL-2 plus lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) (Ferrero E et al Haematologica 1989; Fortis C et al. Cancer Immunol Immunother 1990). Later, I have accumulated recognized expertise in endothelium physiopathology and its role in inflammation and cancer, establishing models to assess endothelial damage induced by pro-inflammatory effectors, mainly TNF-α, particularly endothelial permeability in vitro and vascular damage in murine models (Ferrero E. Methods Mol Med. 2004; Corti A, Ferrero E. Curr.Med Chem.2012).
More recently, I focused on mechanisms associated with tumor-triggered endothelial activation and angiogenesis, substantially contributing to a better comprehension of tumor-associated hypoxia (Veschini L et al. Blood. 2007; Veschini L et al. FASEB J. 2011), with the aim to identify new biomarkers of abnormal angiogenesis and molecular targets (Belloni D, et al. Exp Cell Res. 2015). I have introduced and validated a 3-D dynamic culture model in RCCSTM Bioreactor, suitable to perform long-term culture of viable tumor samples, in particular MM samples. These 3-D cultures allow to investigate the dialogue between tumor and its surrounding microenvironment, to identify tumor- underlying pathogenic mechanisms and to evaluate drug response on tumor and non-tumor compartments (Ferrarini M et al PLoS One. 2013; Ferrarini M et al. InTech, Chapter 3, pp.39-60; Ferrarini M et al Methods Mol Biol. 2017; Belloni D et al, pending).