In the last years, cancer immunotherapy has emerged as an effective therapeutic option for a variety of cancer types. However, immunosuppressive circuits thwart the efficacy of these therapeutic interventions and only few patients show long-term clinical benefits. To improve cancer therapy, our team is exploiting innovative cell-engineering strategies that aim at breaking immune tolerance and unleashing immune responses against cancer cells. 

   Metastases arising from different types of tumors are associated with unfavorable prognosis and are often the cause of death in cancer patients. Although primary tumors are often surgically resettable, liver metastases can be definitively removed only in a minor number of cases. Moreover, most cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, show reduced efficacy when patients develop metastases. Therefore, it is of pivotal importance understanding the factors that promote metastatic dissemination and developing therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the seeding of cancer cells.

We are employing vectors to genetically engineer cancer and immune cells to explore new therapeutic interventions and unravel new biological insights.

microRNA (miRNAs) regulate genetic programs in immune cells. We aim at identifying and characterizing new miRNAs to exploit them in new genetic tools.

Tumor vaccines can expand and activate endogenous cytotoxic T cells. We aim at identifying innovative platforms based on the use of viral vectors.