Massimo Aglietta, M.D.
mplementation of clinical trials based on the identification of specific molecular targets on tumor cells.
Target therapy represents the new avenue of cancer therapy. Although important results have been obtained with some tumors, on the whole the expected results have not been obtained. In most cases, even when tumor progression is blocked by targeting a specific molecular alteration, resistance to treatment will eventually develop. To understand the reason for drug resistance a continuous interaction between the clinic and the laboratory is needed. The analysis of the evolution of tumor genotype and phenotype during treatment is the only way to improve our capacity to treat tumors.
Our units have been focusing mainly on the treatment of sarcomas, breast and digestive tract carcinomas, becoming a referral centre for these diseases. The breast unit recently became autonomous. The secondary projects (see below), dealing with the single diseases, will detail the results obtained. These results derive from a continuous interaction between the laboratory (both the unit’s lab and the other labs of the Institute) and the clinic. This made possible the implementation of clinical trials designed and conducted on the basis of hypotheses generated at the bench and translated to the bedside.
Conclusions and perspectives:
To continue our effort at designing clinical trials based on a thorough analysis of the tumor and of its interaction with the host. The secondary projects will detail the ongoing projects coordinated by our Unit. Moreover, strict cooperation is ongoing with the other leading clinical oncological institutions in Italy and in Europe.