Myeloid Index Score
Myeloid cell GEP
The Unit, with a 20 years experience in human melanoma immunology and immunotherapy, performs clinical trials primarily in melanoma immunotherapy in collaboration with the Melanoma Division (Director: Dr Santinami M.) and in direct contact with melanoma‐dedicated networks such as the IMWG (International Melanoma Working Group), the IMI (Italian Melanoma Intergroup) and the NIBIT (Italian Network for Tumor BioImmunotherapy).
A dedicated team of post-doc researchers, fellows, research nurses, data managers and lab technicians guarantees an extensive effort to the identification of novel melanoma escape mechanisms, to the immunomonitoring of patients enrolled in different clinical trials and to the genetic characterization of multiple, familial and pediatric melanoma.
Role in the project, experimental design
In melanoma, disease progression is strongly influenced by the immune microenvironment. Along this project we have focused the studies on molecules involved in the cross-talk between host myeloid cells and melanoma cells which mark patients at high risk of progression. In these studies we defined a myeloid score (‘Myeloid Index Score’) based on the frequency of different myeloid markers in peripheral blood cells, which resulted associated to prognosis and response to treatment in metastatic melanoma patients.
By the molecular characterization of Myeloid Suppressor Cells (MDSC), which are inflammatory cells endowed with a potent immunosuppressive function showing increased frequency in peripheral blood of neoplastic patients, microRNAs were identified as regulatory molecules involved in MDSC differentiation. A set of microRNA carried by tumor exosomes and able to condition monocytes to MDSC was identified which resulted detectable in the plasma in patients at higher levels compared to healthy controls.
Our research is now focused to a full validation of the identified markers in large cohorts of melanoma patients undergoing targeted or immunotherapies, in melanoma patients at an earlier disease stage, and in other tumor types, given the recently highlighted predominant role of the immune system in the control of disease course. The independent or associated potentiality of MDSC-associated microRNA as plasma biomarkers is evaluated.
The MELISMA study
(Myeloid Immune Score Melanoma)
Group Leader, MD
Biologist, Staff scientist
Clinical Research Coordinator
Biologist, PhD Student
Statistician, Junior Fellow
Michele Del Vecchio
Lorenza Di Guardo
Consorzio MIA, Università Milano-Bicocca
Project funded with support from Airc 5x1000
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Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori
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