Day 1 :
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, USA
Keynote: Ligand-directed targeting and molecular imaging based on vascular zip codes revealed by in vivo phage display
Time : 10:00-10:45
Renata Pasqualini is the Professor of Medicine and Cancer Experimental Therapeutics, Associate Director for Translational Research and Chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has received her PhD from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and did Postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA. In addition to her activities as the Principal Investigator and Head of a large research laboratory, first at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and presently at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, she serves as a Board Member, Reviewer and Chair in multiple review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy along with several other American, Asian and European Foundations that support basic and clinical research. She is a Referee for several top journals featuring cutting edge research and technology and has published over 200 papers.
We have developed in vivo phage display, a functional peptide and antibody screening established in animal models and later in patients, to isolate homing ligands and enable subsequent identification of tissue-specific receptors. Systematic implementation of this strategy advanced the construction of a comprehensive map of vascular markers in each organ, tissue or disease. Indeed, our pioneering discoveries of tissue-specific and angiogenesis-related receptors (vascular "ZIP codes") may lead to a new ligand-directed pharmacology. Over the last few years our efforts have been focused on characterizing the vascular diversity associated with individual cancer patients using antibody-based drug discovery in a precision medicine context and optimizing targeted nanoparticles for drug delivery without off-target toxicity. These new programs represent fertile ground for discovery and drug development
Bioscience Clinic and Bioscience Institute, Italy
Time : 10:45-11:30
Giuseppe Mucci has graduated in Movement Science at Faculty of Medicine in Urbino, Italy. He is a Professor of Bio-Economy at the University of Lugano, Switzerland and Advisory Board Member of the University Roma Tor Vergata. He has established Bioscience Institute in San Marin, Italy in 2006 and Bioscience Clinic in Dubai UAE in 2013, those facilities are Regenerative Medicine compound (Cell Factory and Clinic) specialized in autologous Stem Cells Therapies. In 2014 he created the University spin-off Bioscience Genomics in Milan and Rome.
The use of expanded mesenchymal stem cells followed a path of its own, peculiar but not unique in medical history. Over less than ten years, it went from being negatively labelled as potentially tumorigenic, to being positively hailed as a candidate for new antitumor therapies in the near future. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are indeed among the main candidates for the treatment of specific malignant tumors thanks to their intrinsic immunomodulation and antitumor capabilities. One of their most interesting features is the tropism directed against the tumor itself, supporting the transport of antitumor agents and genes directly into the tumor site. Before the scientific community officially acknowledged such capabilities and their potential in anticancer therapies, over the last decade several researchers have doubted the biological safety of expanded MSC.New studies later confirmed the antitumor effectiveness of MSC, which is particularly significant against specific tumors. Such feature, which obviously requires further investigation, depends on the source of origin of MSC, on the dose used, on the stage and on the nature of the tumor itself Obviously, identifying and selecting the tumors more responsive to MSC treatments is the key for a successful cellular therapy. Genetic studies have recently shown the existence of tumor-specific markers which can be used to identify the types of tumors that can be treated with MSC. Some genetic markers can be used to effectively monitor the response to some treatments (EGFR, BRAF, KRAS, NRAS, BRCA2, melanoma, lung, breast and colon-rectal cancer) and the potential onset of post-therapy resistance, thus allowing the development of specific antitumor therapies through stem cells.Besides, MSC can be modified to express or release multiple antitumor agents, thus overcoming the limitations linked to the half-life and the biological transformation typical of many chemotherapy drugs. This is why MSC have been tested as vectors for a more selective delivery of therapeutic agents such as p53 gene, oncolytic viruses, chemotherapy drugs or specific cellular factors, such as pigment epithelium-derived factors, interleukin 12 and interferon beta. Many of these therapies release substances and induce the death of the vector cell, thus reducing complications linked to stem cells mutation. If the death of the cell can not be induced, it is possible to introduce suicide genes which will cause the cell to kill itself. Even if details still need to be fully defined, the tropism of MSC against tumors clearly involves multiple chemokine-receptor pairs. So, MSC can suppress metastasis and inhibit tumor progression by regulating the expression of cancer suppressor genes, inducing cell cycle arrest, inhibiting angiogenesis, and stimulating the action of Natural Killer cells and of the molecules controlling cellular renewal and differentiation