MUR Department of excellence 2023-2027
The Department of Oncology has been recognized as Department of Excellence and has received special funding from the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) for the five-year period 2023-2027, with the aim of strengthening and enhancing research excellence, with investments in human capital, infrastructure and highly qualified educational activities.
Project and objectives
Evolutionary Dynamics in Viable Samples from Cancer Patients for Advanced Research on Mechanisms of Metastatic Progression and Resistance to Antineoplastic Therapies
Tumors become resistant to antineoplastic drugs because they enact strategies to evade therapeutic response through mechanisms of resilience, mainly related to the ability to adapt and mutate. The DIORAMA project (Evolutionary Dynamics in Viable Samples from Cancer Patients for Advanced Research on Mechanisms of Metastatic Progression and Resistance to Antineoplastic Therapies), with which the Department of Oncology has been awarded Department of Excellence status, aims to attack the problem of therapeutic resistance by exploiting a unique resource: a collection of hundreds of patient tumor samples, collected in viable form and cultured as three-dimensional organoids that recapitulate all the characteristics of the original patient-donated tumors. Just as the diorama is a miniature representation of a landscape, the organoid is a faithful, laboratory-propagated replica of a tumor that grows and develops in a human being. DIORAMA focuses on three extremely common types of cancer: colon cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. Working on organoids, researchers and clinicians in the Department of Oncology will explore new ways to improve response to existing therapies and identify new vulnerabilities that will be targeted with next-generation drugs. Ultimately, DIORAMA will provide tools to expand the therapeutic opportunities available to cancer patients, directly impacting their life expectancy and quality of life.