From Boston to Trento: the collaboration in the field of biology started one year ago, thanks to the support of the Armenise-Harvard Foundation, and it successfully continues.
Another biologist chooses CIBIO - Centre of Integrative Biology of the University of Trento - as his headquarters to carry out his cutting-edge research works, following the example of Sheref Mansy, who arrived in Trento in 2009.
Andrea Lunardi is a young but well-known biologist with relevant past collaborations and scientific publications. Lunardi decided to use his one-million-dollar grant to move to Trento and continue with his studies on the prostate tumour. He started his works a few years ago at the Cancer Research Institute of Boston and he now intends to continue his research here in Trento. His project aims at understanding which mechanisms cause the prostate tumour to turn from indolent to metastatic, and which are responsible for the development of the tumour resistance against various types of therapy.
The former Rector, Daria de Pretis welcomed him at CIBIO a few days ago, on behalf of the academic scientific community and wished him a fruitful scientific work in Trento.
The Armenise-Harvard Foundation made Lunardi’s move to Trento possible, through the Armenise-Harvard Career Development Award, which supports talented young scientists, contributing to the creation of new research areas in the field of biology in Italy, thus fostering the international mobility to the benefit of a multidisciplinary culture and favouring the collaboration among Italian scientists and the Harvard Medical School of Boston.
Lunardi’s research focuses on the prostate tumour, aiming at identifying and describing the functions of the various classes of molecules secreted by the tumour cells or by the surrounding stromal component (proteins, nucleic acids, metabolites) which may be involved in the acquisition of invasive/metastatic capacity of the primary tumour or in the response to therapies. The objective is the identification of new and more reliable bio-markers circulating in the blood, urine and sperm, capable of discriminating indolent tumours from the aggressive ones. A further objective is the identification of new therapeutic targets. Thanks to an adequate modulation they could limit the metastatic potential of the tumour and/or its capacity to develop resistance against specific treatments.
Thanks to his experience acquired while working in different projects aimed at describing the genetic and molecular mechanisms causing the prostate tumour, Lunardi developed and coordinated the innovative “Co-Clinical Trial Project”, created by Professor Pier Paolo Pandolifi, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School of Boston. The project aims at fast classifying patients on a genetic and molecular basis, as “responsive” and “resistant” to specific treatments, thanks to the information acquired by the same therapy applied in parallel on some models, so that the tumour onset, progression and finally response to the therapy may require no longer than a few months. The initial encouraging results were published last summer on Nature Genetics, debated in a series of “Commentary” in various significant scientific journals, like Nature Review Oncology, Nature Review Urology, Cancer Cell, Science Translational Medicine, and in a long and detailed article by Gina Kolata on New York Times.
More information is available in the attached Press release.