Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious diseases

Tumor immunology

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Head of Unit

Maria Pia Protti

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A complex cross talk between tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment, comprising tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, dictates the clinical outcome in neoplastic diseases. The unit is interested in defining cells and molecules relevant in the differentiation of CD4+ T lymphocyte subsets with anti-tumor or tumor-promoting function. The information derived by these studies will help in the design of clinical protocols of immune- biotherapy in neoplastic patients.

Research activity

Group studies are focused on pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma and they are conducted in collaboration with surgeons, clinical oncologists and pathologists of the Institute. In particular, specific aims are:

  • evaluating tumor infiltrating Th cell subsets and defining possible correlation between the features of the Th subsets identified and the clinical outcome (i.e., predictive markers); 
  • studying cells and mechanisms dictating Th polarization;
  • studying how the different Th cell subsets exert pro- versus anti-tumor activity in these pathologies.