Professor Rosaria Alvaro of our Department is pleased to announce that the Research Assistant for Nursing Sciences, Dr. Gianluca Pucciarelli, has been awarded with the American Heart Association’s “2017 CVSN Stroke Article of the Year Award”.
Following is the statement by Prof. Alvaro:
I am pleased to inform you that Dr. Gianluca Pucciarelli, Research Assistant for Nursing Sciences, is the winner of the American Heart Association's “2017 CVSN Stroke Article of the Year Award”. This is probably the first time an Italian nurse is awarded this prestigious prize.
The article to which the award refers is the following:
Pucciarelli G, Vellone E, Savini S, Simeone S, Ausili D, Alvaro R, Lee CS, Lyons KS. Roles of Changing Physical Function and Caregiver Burden on Quality of Life in Stroke: A Longitudinal Dyadic Analysis. Stroke 2017; 48: 733-739.
The study, result of an international collaboration between the Department of Nursing Science and the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA, enrolled a group of 226 pairs of stroke patients with their respective caregivers and followed them for one year with follows-up every three months. The data analysis, very innovative by making use for the first time of multilevel methodologies on the reference population, has revealed that the physical fitness of the patient and the caregiver's burden not only affect the individual's quality of life, respectively of the patient and the caregiver , but also the quality of life of the other member of the pair. In addition, the study has shown that depression of the patient negatively affects the caregiver's depression and vice versa, and that better educated and better-prepared caregivers are less exposed to the adverse effects of the healthcare burden.
As you know, the study was funded by the Center for Excellence for Culture and Nursing Research at the IPASVI College in Rome.
Dr. Pucciarelli will receive the award during the upcoming American Heart Association Congress, which will be held in Anaheim, California (USA), November 11-15, 2017.
(From the left) Francesca Gioia Klinger e Luisa Campagnolo, researchers of Histology and Embryology at the Tor Vergata University of Rome (Department of Biomedicine and Prevention), and Rocco Rago, head of the Centre for Sterility and Assisted Procreation of the Pertini Hospital in Rome
GENEVA – She has the contagious enthusiasm and the incredulity of those who cannot believe of having won, together with her group. One of the three scholars awarded with the Gfi (Grant for Fertility Innovation) 2017, an award wanted and funded by Merck, is the Italian group of Luisa Campagnolo, researcher of Histology and Embryology of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, and her colleague Francesca Gioia Klinger. They work in collaboration with the Centre for Sterility and Assisted Procreation of the Pertini Hospital in Rome, headed by Rocco Rago. A public centre, which deals with basic research.
IN THE USA - Graduated at Sapienza University in Rome, Campagnolo worked for four years at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego where - she tells - she happened to meet Laureates or talk with Dulbecco, and where it was easy to say "I'm a scientist", without anyone laughing, as it happens in Italy. Later she is tempted by nostalgia and takes part in a competition for researchers in Rome, winning it. In 2004 she goes back home. "Because Italy is my country, and maybe because I had some more expectation. Then, I realized that in Italy public research really is almost zero."
THE PROJECT – The project she is winning today was born at Tor Vergata when Luisa decided to proceed as in the United States and let her students do all the material work – she teaches Biotechnology – rather than just telling it. Thus, she prepares a teaching laboratory, with the collaboration of Rocco Rago of Pertini hospital, and shows how they manipulate oocytes (mice), how they crioconserve gametes (male ones are human but discarded) and how they are evaluated. A real success. From this didactic collaboration comes the research project, aimed at studying the EGFL7, which she had begun studying in the United States. Behind the abbreviation is an angiogenesis regulator (which is therefore also studied in oncology) but Luisa is convinced that it can play an important role in reproduction as it is also implicated in placental development.
THE HYPOTESIS – And so – she supposes – why could EGFL7 not be important even for embryo implantation, the most problematic moment of assisted fertilization whose mechanisms are still ignored today? Rocco Rago defines it as a sort of "black hole", because the ways in which the embryo - once inserted into the uterus - converses with the endometrium are unknown. This is the most delicate instant, since up to 60% of the implants can fail. When embedded in the uterus, the embryo waits 48 to 72 hours before the implantation and perhaps it sends messages to the endometrium. Since in mice EGFL7 is released from the embryo shortly before implantation, could this not be how embryo and endometrium communicate?
THE FUTURE – This is a fascinating hypothesis that, if checked, could enable the detection of a factor responsible for the implant, and act on this in a specific way. Thus, unable to work in vivo for ethical problems, with the help of Pertini Hospital Tor Vergata's Obstetric Pathology (Carlo Ticconi) which will provide endometrial biopsies of women who suffer from recurrent abortions, Campagnolo and her team will study how the EGFL7 factor modulates the signal. "If, as we believe, this factor is important for uterine receptivity", said the researcher, "it may become a therapy target, perhaps even at a local level. We could speculate that a little quantity of EGLF7 brushed directly on the endometrium might promote implantation. By studying the moment when the embryo secretes this factor, it might be also possible to identify the right time for the transfer".
THE CELEBRATION – All this will happen in the next two years. Meanwhile - admits Campagnolo, who celebrated her birthday here in Geneva yesterday - this award was the most beautiful birthday present. "We have won and it has all happened in just a few months", she says, "and for me it is a great achievement." We had previously won another project of the Ministry of Health, but the funds came in after three years, and in the meantime, others published the results of what we had proposed. In this case, instead, we presented the project in December and already today we will have the required funds, all in the dark"
46 APPLICATIONS – The forty-six works submitted to the competition have been evaluated without any indication that could link the projects to the names of the proposers in order to ensure absolute impartiality. And today, Luisa - who is one of the winners - can go home and tell her children - without causing hilarity - that mom is really a scientist.
International study, coordinated for Italy by the haematologists of Tor Vergata, published in the New England Journal of Medicine
A molecular "target" drug, a new targeted therapy, will soon be available for about a third of the patients with acute myeloid leukaemia. In addition to conventional chemotherapy, this drug (midostaurin) has produced a significant benefit in the survival of patients with this disease, who exhibit specific mutations of a receptor, called FLT3.
The results of the international clinical study showing the benefits of this therapy have just been published on the New England Journal of Medicine, the most prestigious medical journal in the world. The randomized controlled trial assessed the effectiveness and tolerability of a FLT3 inhibitor against placebo in patients aged 18 to 60, in combination with chemotherapy.
The study saw the participation of 12 national co-operative groups and was supported by the National Cancer Institute in the USA and Novartis in Europe. The important Italian contribution is witnessed by the participation of 25 Centres that, through the cooperative group GIMEMA (Italian Group for the Study of Adult Haematological Diseases), enrolled 105 of the 717 patients studied. Co-authors of the newly published scientific work, as representatives of Italian haematologists, are Prof. Francesco Lo Coco, who has centralized at the Tor Vergata's laboratories the diagnostics and therefore the selection of the suitable patients, for all the Centres GIMEMA, and Prof. Sergio Amadori, Vice President of GIMEMA and Coordinator of the study Group of Acute Leukaemia.
It is worth noting that, thanks to this work, "midostaurin" has recently been approved in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration and will soon be approved as a new drug for the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia in Europe as well.
This has not happened for nearly 20 years!
Prof. William Arcese
Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation