Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious diseases

Experimental hepatology

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Group Leader

Giovanni Sitia

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The research of this group focuses on two broad programs. The first aims to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing metastases growth and spread within the liver, a preferential area of metastatic dissemination of tumors of different origin (colorectal, pancreas, lung and breast) often associated with poor prognosis, mostly because of late diagnosis and/or relative inefficiency of current available anti-tumoral drugs. The final goal is to develop new preventive and/or therapeutic approaches for these diseases based on the selective targeting of specialized cellular compartment by type I interferon molecules.

Research activity

The second deals with the peculiar capacity of hepatocytes, the differentiated cells of the liver to regenerate following acute and chronic liver injury. This group is interested in defining the cellular and molecular mediators associated with liver regeneration under conditions associated with restitution to integrum and in conditions associated with extracellular matrix deposition, with the final goal to design new pharmacological approaches able to increase liver regeneration in patients suffering of acute or chronic hepatic insufficiency.

These programs takes advantage of:

  • dedicated mouse models of liver colorectal cancer metastases,
  • dedicated mouse models of liver regeneration, such as acetaminophen intoxication and 70% partial hepatectomy
  • new technological advances in the field of live imaging [e.g. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical in-vivo imaging] to develop new preventive and/or therapeutic approaches for these diseases.