Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapeutics Research Program

Program Head: Carlo Catapano, MD, PhD

The Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapeutic Research Program comprises three groups of investigators with a common interest in basic and translational research on solid tumors, like prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.

The objective of the program is to pursue basic research on cell cultures, animal models and clinical samples to study the pathogenesis of cancer, the mechanisms of tumor progression and metastasis, new therapeutic targets and the basis of treatment efficacy. A common interest in the groups is to derive information that might lead improvements in clinical aspects as the identification of better prognostic and therapeutic indicators and novel therapeutic strategies.

The Program’s investigators work closely with the IOSI clinical investigators within the Phase I/II Clinical Trial Unit and the Disease-oriented programs, such as the Prostate Cancer Clinical Research Group, to ensure the rapid transfer of any new knowledge into the clinics for the improvement of patient care.

  1. Catapano Group – Experimental Therapeutics
    • Antigene oligonucleotides that selectively block expression of target genes;
    • DNA binding small-molecules that interfere with transcription factor binding;
    • Small-molecule ligands that interfere with trans-activating ability.
  2. Carbone Group – Prostate Cancer Biology
    • Molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer development and progression;
    • Deregulation of ETS transcription factors in prostate cancer;
    • Novel therapeutic approaches to target oncogenic ETS factors.
  3. Alimonti Group – Molecular Oncology and Mouse Models
    • Characterization of cellular senescence by tumor suppressor PTEN;
    • Identification of novel compounds with pro-senescence activity;
    • Identification of senescence markers in human tumors.
  4. Theurillat Group – Functional Cancer Genomics
    • Functional characterization of new prostate cancer drivers implicated in chromatin remodeling and protein ubiquitylation;
    • Engineering of small molecules against prostate cancer targets;
    • Generation and engineering of patient-derived cell line models.
  5. Calcinotto Group – Cancer Immunotherapy
    • Identification of the mechanisms underlying the contribution of tumor-infiltrating immune cells in regulating later stages of tumor progression and favoring therapy resistance in breast cancer;
    • Novel immune-based therapeutic options to target immune-tumor interactions in solid cancers;
    • Generation of a cellular engineered humanized breast cancer mouse model platform.