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Molecular Oncology


Research projects in Molecular Oncology are focussed on multiple aspects including transcriptional, epigenetic and post-transcriptional mechanisms of oncogenesis, cancer cell proteomics, tumor-associated cell migration and angiogenesis.

Studies on transcriptional processes aim at deciphering the role and regulation of AP-1 components and other nuclear oncoproteins in epithelial-mesenchymal-transition and metastasis, along with mechanisms of epigenome deregulation and novel drugs targeting epimutations in cancer cells.

Post-transcriptional control mechanisms are addressed by multiple lines of research, focussing on the regulatory roles of various classes of non-coding RNAs, including novel oncosuppressor miRNAs and Transcribed Ultra Conserved Regions (T-UCRs) in post-transcriptional control networks, along with Alu transcripts deregulation in neoplastic transformation, based on the recently discovered pathogenetic function of DICER-mediated processing of Alu mRNAs.

Cancer cell proteomics analyses aims at identifying novel biomarkers and therapeutic drugs for the diagnosis and treatment of human melanoma. Therapeutic inhibition of melanoma growth is also addressed by studies on mechanisms and therapeutic applications of simvastatin as antineoplastic drug.

Research projects on tumor cell migration involve the analyses of signalling mechanisms mediated by the urokinase receptor and Rho-family GTPases, along with the role of cancer cell secretome in tumor-stroma interactions, in search of novel inhibitors of invasion and metastasis.

The research line on tumor angiogenesis aims at understanding the physiological and pathological role of VEGF family members and at the identification of new angiogenic players, along with translational approaches aimed at the discovery of novel anti-angiogenic drugs.


Molecular Oncology


Emilia Caputo

Amelia Cimmino

Sandro De Falco

Roberta Esposito

Paola Franco

Ingram Iaccarino

Enza Lonardo

Franco Morelli

Maria Patrizia Stoppelli

Valeria Tarallo

Pasquale Verde