San Raffaele Hospital wins funding for 22 biomedical research projects

San Raffaele Hospital wins funding for 22 biomedical research projects

Publication date: 04-07-2024

Updated on: 04-07-2024

Topic: Corporate news

Estimated reading time: 5 min

As many as 22 scientific research projects coordinated by Ospedale San Raffaele have received ministerial funding under the 2nd NRRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) public notice, with the aim of strengthening and enhancing biomedical research in the National Health Service. 

The hospital, also considering 10 projects of which it is a partner, is among the excellences in terms of number of projects submitted and financed which are 32 in total.

It is an important milestone that further certifies the quality of scientific research carried out by our doctors and researchers.

Thanks to European #NextGenerationUE funds made available by the Ministry of Health through the second public notice of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, researchers will be able to conduct research projects that will then serve all citizens in different areas of medicine.

The medical areas and projects of Ospedale San Raffaele affected by NRRP

The 22 coordinated projects receiving funds refer to different medical areas. They are as follows. 

Psychiatry project

“Biological Signature for Early Differential Diagnosis of Psychosis” which aims to unravel the differences between mood disorders and schizophrenia using multimodal machine learning techniques (Coordinator: Professor Francesco Benedetti). 

Rehabilitation project

"Multimodal Prehabilitation in Oncological Surgery": the study aims to test the effectiveness of an individualized, multidisciplinary preoperative conditioning program to reduce serious complications and facilitate postoperative recovery in high-risk patients - PROPOSE (PRehabilitation in Oncological Patients undergOing SurgEry) study. (Coordinator: Doctor Marina Laura Grazia Pieri).

Ophthalmology projects

In this area, there are 2 research projects: 

  1. A new diagnostic approach based on serum profiling of microRNAs in a group of patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) USH2A. (Coordinator: Professor Maurizio Parodi Battaglia)
  2. A project investigating reliable artificial intelligence tools to predict the risk of development and progression of neurodegenerative diabetic complications (mild cognitive impairment and dementia) based on retinal images, in patients with type 2 diabetes (Coordinator: Professor Giuseppe Querques)

Cardiology-pneumology projects

In this medical area, 4 projects were awarded funding: 

  1. Developing an artificial intelligence algorithm that can predict (minutes, hours or days in advance) major cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction or cardiac arrest) through biosignals recorded by wearable devices to alert at-risk individuals in time; developing a smartphone app that can rapidly geolocate available defibrillators and alert nearby citizens to intervene as first responders in the event of cardiac arrest; identifying and developing an algorithm for the optimal location on the chest of chest compressions and defibrillator pads in cardiac arrest patients by acquiring chest computed tomography and transesophageal echocardiography scans. (Coordinator: Professor Alberto Zangrillo)
  2. A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the effect of intraoperative administration of landiol before cardiopulmonary bypass, with the aim of reducing postoperative low cardiac output syndrome to improve myocardial protection during surgery and to improve patients' quality of life in the postoperative period. (Coordinator: Doctor Fabrizio Monaco)
  3. "Gender diversity and inclusion in phenotypic and genetic characterization of acute coronary artery disease." The study involves creating a multicenter prospective registry of women with acute coronary syndrome from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and characterizing them through clinical, imaging, genetic, biochemical, and molecular phenotyping, stratifying them by age, etiology (obstructive and nonobstructive CAD), and diversity, assessing socioeconomic status, health literacy, and awareness of risk factors. (Coordinator: Professor Alaide Chieffo)
  4. A study aimed at improving the early recognition of cardiopulmonary damage (the main cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with connective tissue disease with interstitial lung involvement, and of the more rapidly progressive forms) through the development of a computed tomography (CT) protocol aimed at assessing cardiac and pulmonary involvement in a single examination, by exploiting the potential of the latest generation of CT scanners (Photon Counting CT), which allows imaging with very high spatial resolution, to date unobtainable with conventional techniques, and spectral imaging that allows separation of the biological phenomena of edema/inflammation and fibrosis. (Coordinator: Professor Anna Palmisano)

Gastroenterology projects

Four projects are funded in this area: 

  1. A study aiming to improve the early detection of cancer in people with Lynch syndrome. Specifically, the project will evaluate the presence of intratumoral cancer bacteria in Lynch syndrome carriers with colorectal cancer compared with those without colorectal cancer to develop a comprehensive model that can effectively distinguish between these 2 populations. (Coordinator: Professor Giulia Martina Cavestro)
  2. A project to develop new methods of investigation (imaging and molecular biomarkers) in patients with intestinal fibrosis, a common complication of ulcerative colitis, which negatively impacts patients' quality of life. (Coordinator: Doctor Mariangela Allocca)
  3. Research that integrates, in a model based on machine learning, the factors triggering post-operative complications to determine the risk indices of recurrence in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. The project will reveal possible causes and create predictive methods that can minimize postoperative complications. (Coordinator: Professor Pierpaolo Sileri)
  4. A project that integrates multi-omics markers, combining biological data from DNA, RNA, proteins, and metabolites, to identify invasive Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms (or IPMNs), which are an early stage in pancreatic cancer growth. The study also aims to establish the Invasive Cyst Biomarker Detection Consortium (INCITE), a research group that includes several Italian centers, and has the common goal of early detection of potentially malignant pancreatic cyst conditions to improve their management and treatment for patients. (Coordinator: Professor Stefano Crippa)

Nephrology-urology projects

2 research projects for this area:

  1. In the context of Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL), a rare genetic syndrome that predisposes to the development of tumors in the kidney, eye, nervous system, adrenal area, and pancreas, the project aims to use PET images with a radiopharmaceutical never before used in Italy to locate and track each tumor. Use for diagnostic purposes is the first step in the pathway that will allow an assessment of whether theragnostic treatment of VHL tumors is feasible, i.e. a combination of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques based on radiopharmaceuticals that, in addition to highlighting cancer cells, destroy them. The study will involve the multidisciplinary program dedicated to VHL syndrome, for which the institute is a national and international reference center, and the Institute's Nuclear Medicine team (Coordinator: doctor Alessandro Silvio Larcher)
  2. A study to investigate the renal and metabolic effects of glyphozilins, a new class of drugs, as adjunctive therapy in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Clinical and biological data from 300 geriatric patients who started therapy with these molecules, both before and after the initial 6-month treatment, will be collected and analyzed. (Coordinator: Professor Chiara Livia Saveria Lanzani)

Endocrinology Project

The endocrinology project aims to investigate the correlations and influences between the neuroendocrine-pituitary system, adipose tissue, and skeletal metabolism in obese patients with neurohormonal disorders. Evaluations performed in included patients will be supported by laboratory analyses on experimental models generated specifically for the project. The aim is to determine the neurohormonal mechanisms conditioning the accumulation of adipose tissue and skeletal damage in order to identify future and innovative therapeutic approaches. (Coordinator: Professor Andrea Giustina

Gynecology and obstetrics projects 

In the field of gynecology and obstetrics, the study proposes a multi-omics approach, in which genetic, epigenetic and imaging factors are integrated in patients suffering from endometriosis and adenomyosis, to improve early diagnosis and optimize assisted reproduction treatments (Coordinator: Professor Massimo Giovanni Piero Maria Candiani)

Oncology projects

The oncology area received funding for 6 projects: 

  1. A research project aimed at identifying new preclinical and clinical therapeutic approaches in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a cancer of the lining of the lung characterized by few treatment options and poor prognosis. (Coordinator: Professor Marco Emilio Giuseppe Bianchi)
  2. A project that aims to test both the immunomodulatory effects of highly hypofractionated radiotherapy in patients suffering from prostate cancer and identify selective criteria for the patients who can best respond to this treatment, and to validate extremely hypofractionated radiotherapy neoadjuvant to surgery in patients suffering from glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive tumors of the brain which still has a poor short-term prognosis. A possible synergy of radioimmunotherapy against glioblastoma in preclinical settings will also be identified. (Coordinator: Professor Nadia Gisella Di Muzio)
  3. A study that aims to assess the potential added value of FDG PET/CT for the diagnosis of lung cancer in high-risk patients and evaluate the role of low-dose CT. In addition, the project will enable the development of a deep learning model, combining patient-specific data with morphological and metabolic characteristics derived from images to predict lung cancer risk. (Coordinator: Professor Arturo Chiti)
  4. A study aimed at identifying innovative therapeutic treatments to inhibit perineural invasion, an alternative route to metastasis in addition to the vascular and lymphatic systems, through the use of organoids derived from patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (Coordinator: Professor Massimo Falconi)
  5. A project aimed at building microfluidic screening of patient-derived organoids to define treatments for metastatic colon cancer (Coordinatore professor Luca Antonio Maria Aldrighetti)
  6. A research project to examine in depth the role of inflammasome activation, an intracellular complex involved in innate immune response and inflammation, in newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia patients. The project then investigates its association with treatment response in specific risk categories of acute myeloid leukemia. (Coordinator: Doctor Rosa Alessandra Mortellaro)

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