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AIRC awards the research of Rossella Manfredini’s team with over 2 million euros

The team of researchers coordinated by professor Rossella Manfredini, Coordinator of the Genomics and Transcriptomics programme at the “Stefano Ferrari” Regenerative Medicine of the Department of Life Science of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, is the leader of oncologic research. Indeed, the team has been assigned one of the projects financed by the Italian Association for Research on Cancer (AIRC) through the “AIRC 5 x 1000” call.

The selection of the projects presented by AIRC includes a process of careful evaluation by audits selected among the top international experts in the oncologic research field who provide independent assessments by evaluating the project originality, innovative and feasibility, as well as the expertise in the field of the researchers presenting it. For the project named “Targets to be pursued in the clonal progression and systemic spread of myeloid neoplasms", the professor Manfredini’s team has been granted a financing of over 2 million euros of UNIMORE budget for the next 7 years. In this project, professor Manfredini coordinates the team of researchers from Modena within a national group leaded by professor Alessandro Vannucchi of the University of Florence, who is also the National coordinator of the AIRC 5X1000 project.

As professor Rossella Manfredini, teacher of Biology and Genetics at Unimore, explains, “this project aims to characterise the basic molecular mechanisms that trigger and develop a broad spectrum of blood cancers, acute myeloid leukaemia and chronic myeloproliferative diseases, with the purpose of identifying new parameters for diagnosis and prognosis, as well as new therapies able to eradicate the disease, by improving the life expectation and quality of the patients”.

The project is divided into various experimental objectives that focus on different biological and clinical aspects of these diseases and are aimed at the development of new customised treatments. More specifically, leukemic staminal cells will be characterised, namely the cells “maintaining” the disease, and are therefore responsible for recurrences as they are resistant to traditional treatments. Based on molecular and functional characteristics identified in this study, new therapeutic approaches will be developed, aimed at specifically removing these cancer cells, thus improving the effectiveness of current treatments that cannot heal many of these diseases.

An equally important objective will be the study of the interaction between cancer stem cells and normal cells inside the bone marrow: in fact, as in solid tumours, cancer cells communicate with normal cells surrounding them also in blood cancers, as to create a favourable environment to them. Such communication has therefore an important role in the evolution of the disease and in the development of several clinic characteristics of cancer patients, such as the state of chronic inflammation detected in patients suffering from myeloproliferative diseases and that may further help the progression of the disease. Also in this case, the final objective is to identify new targets for the development of innovative therapies aimed at improving the healing expectations and the life quality of the patients.

Professor Manfredini ends by saying that “Another essential objective of the project is to develop new diagnostic tools to improve current classification systems of patients suffering from myeloid neoplasms. This aspect is of primary importance with the purpose of predicting each patient’s perspectives, in order to suggest the best treatment for him/her based on clinical and molecular characteristics, and maximise the likelihood of recovery through the so called customised medicine”.

The final objective of the project is therefore the development of new therapies that, based on the knowledge gained through this research, will be tested in new clinic protocols in collaboration with the other centres financed by the project.

ROSSELLA MANFREDINI

Born in Modena in 1962, in 1988 she graduated in Biological Science at the University of Modena with the score of 110/110 and honours. In 1994 she obtained the PhD in Experimental Haematology and in 1996 the Specialisation in Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry. After being assigned study grants by AIRC and the Italian Association Against Cancer (LILT), she carried out Post doc activities at the Temple University of Philadelphia (US) obtaining the US patent for “Using AS c-fes and ATRA oligonucleotides in M3 type Leukaemia”. A researcher in Applied Biology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, after that she became an Associate Professor and later a Full Professor in the same area. She is the author of 86 full-text publications on high-impact international journals and was granted financing by AIRC, MIUR and the Ministry of Health. Her main research topics are: regulation of genic expression in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis; molecular and functional characterisation of normal and leukemic hemopoietic stem cells.

Professor Rossella Manfredini’s biography: https://personale.unimore.it/rubrica/dettaglio/manfro24

Categorie: International - english

Articolo pubblicato da: Ufficio Stampa Unimore - ufficiostampa@unimore.it