RESEARCH PLANNING REPORT 2014-2015
The joint mission of the biological, medical, surgical and public health disciplines of the Department of Biomedicine and Prevention is the study of new methods and prevention procedures through biomedical research and their effective implementation in the National Health Service (SSN). The Department also investigates new risk factors, biomarkers, models and techniques useful both for prevention and for the treatment of common and rare pathological conditions.
For this purpose, basic research has produced numerous in vitro and in vivo experimental models for the characterization of the processes that govern the stages of embryonic development. These studies have allowed the definition of some molecular processes to be used to control DNA methylation processes, cell cycle progression, and response to pharmacological treatments. In addition, models for in vitro screening of new molecules with potential pharmacological action have been produced.
Concerning infectious diseases, molecular mechanisms of HIV infection have been investigated and antiretroviral therapy evaluated to optimize the prevention of vertical transmission of HIV infection and for the prevention and control of maternal mortality through holistic intervention models.
Among the degenerative diseases studied, the main ones are the neurological and degenerative (atherosclerosis and diabetes). In particular, experimental models have been developed to characterize some of the molecules (frataxin) and genes (SMN) involved in Friedreich's ataxia and spinal muscular atrophy respectively.
Genetic studies have helped define the role of some genes in human diseases such as diabetes mellitus type 2 and spinal muscular atrophy.
Numerous anatomic-clinical studies, evaluating the expression of specific biomarkers related to the plaque vulnerability, have shown that organ damage to acute cerebrovascular syndromes is related to the thrombosis of a carotid plaque rather than the degree of stenosis of the vessel.
In the field of oncology, recent studies focused on identifying potential onset and/or disease progression biomarkers. In particular, some proteins involved in several stages of tumor progression (CLIC1-glioblastoma, FMRP-breast carcinoma, Clusterin-colorectal) have been characterized. In addition, some microRNAs were identified as tumor markers (miR-221/222; miR-128).
Numerous experimental studies introduced innovative therapies in diagnostic, medical and surgical fields. Of particular importance, a recent study has demonstrated the possibility of defeating Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) without chemotherapy.
The research of new imaging techniques combined with computational modeling and massive parallel calculation has allowed the development of non-invasive diagnostic methods for the diagnosis and characterization of microstructural alteration phenomena behind numerous neurodegenerative pathologies, as well as for the evaluation of pathologies of liver, breast, prostate, and for the quantification of the risk associated with repeated cranial trauma. In addition, the use of radio frequency models has allowed the development of protocols for percutaneous ablation of mammary and liver neoplasia.
Research in the field of Regenerative Medicine and Surgery has enabled the development of cutting-edge methods for the use of synthetic biomaterials, stem cells from adipose tissue and other tissues, and growth factors in platelets. In addition, mini-invasive surgery techniques were developed for both thoracic and vascular surgery to reduce risk in patients.
Particular attention is also given to the interaction with the environment. In this respect, interactions of particulate matter produced by new technologies (nanotechnologies) with the environment and with man have been studied. In addition, in order to facilitate in vivo reconstitution of damaged tissues, research on biocompatibility of synthetic materials has been conducted.
In the area of organization of services, it is worth mentioning a line of research that deals with adherence to therapy and prescriptions, health education and training of medical personnel through the analysis of the most appropriate pathways in Healthcare in order to reach the most rational use of scarce resources, and thus possible savings for hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Summary of the Document
1. Medicine and regenerative surgery
3. Biomarkers and predictors of disease
4. Genetics and epigenetics applied to aging, lifestyles and the environment
5. Rare Diseases, Innovation in Prevention and Treatment