Strategie innovative combinate per la diagnosi e la terapia del carcinoma della prostata

Starting date
May 30, 2005
Duration (months)
Department of Engineering for Innovation Medicine
Managers or local contacts
Colombatti Marco

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in developed
countries. Epidemiological studies conducted in Italy report 11,000 new cases/year evidentiating a
raising trend partly due to a longer life expectancy and to a more widespread screening for plasma
PSA levels. Surgery and radiotherapy can control localized tumors but in 1/3 of the patients the
disease becomes aggressive, metastatic and androgen independent and most conventional
treatments fail. No early diagnosis and therapy are presently available to allow timely intervention
and prevent further development of the disease.
The present project represents an evolution and an extension of a previous research which led to
interesting discoveries and numerous publications. Here we will aim at validating anti-tumor
vaccine regimens in patients and elaborating new treatment strategies targeting crucial metabolic
pathways and cell-surface molecules of human prostate tumors.
To this end the following aspects will be investigated:
1) the study of biologic mechanisms and pathways that facilitate tumor growth, decrease its
sensitivity to conventional regimens or hinder the host immune defense, to select molecular
targets for diagnostic and/or therapeutic intervention;
2) the elaboration of biotechnological therapeutic strategies targeting essential biochemical
pathways and molecules conferring selective advantage to the tumor cell, to enhance the
host immune response to the tumor;
3) the application and validation of new techniques for the diagnostic and prognostic
evaluation of prostate tumors;
4) the evaluation of safety and efficacy (phase I/II) of anti-tumor vaccine formulations using
dendritic cells in prostate tumor patients. Mechanisms regulating the function of dendritic
cells will be also studied.
With the proposed research we expect to identify new appropriate targets and suggest new
therapeutic strategies based on the biology of prostate tumors


Funds: assigned and managed by the department


Research facilities