Stefano Santaguida, Junior Group Leader who has joined the Department of Experimental Oncology at the end of 2018, after a post doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, USA), won a 3-year Ricerca Finalizzata grant of the Italian Ministry of Health.
“The goal of the project is to define how an abnormal chromosome number in untransformed cells triggers an immune response that leads to their elimination, while cancer cells are able to circumvent those mechanisms thus preventing the immune system from detecting and eliminating them” -explains Stefano Santaguida.
“An abnormal number of chromosomes is defined as aneuploidy. Aneuploidy is known to affect cell physiology, causing growth and developmental defects in untransformed cells and contributing to malignant transformation.
Therefore, in my lab, thanks to the Ricerca Finalizzata funding, we will firstly unveil the molecular mechanisms underlying the clearance of aneuploid cells by the immune system. Then, we will explore how aneuploid cancer cells find the way to avoid the clearance by the immune system. Finally, we will analyze patient-derived tumor specimens to evaluate whether there are specific features, a ‘signature’, associated with aneuploidy.”