Head: Maurizio Fanciulli, MD, PhD
Metastatic melanomas harboring BRAF-V600 mutations are currently treated with combinations of BRAF and MEK inhibitors (MAPKi) increasing the objective responses, disease free survival and overall survival over monotherapy with BRAF inhibitors. Unfortunately, several patients suffer from ab initio or acquired resistance to these agents. Several efforts have been directed in recent years to understand mechanisms of resistance to MAPK inhibitors. These studies have shown a prominent involvement of non-mutational adaptive events, among which also deregulation of a class of small non-coding RNAs, namely microRNAs.
The pandemic in 2020 has strongly influenced the Piaggio’s group research activities. Indeed, from the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the group has been involved in the development of protocols to study the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the immunological response of cancer patients. In the last month of the year, the group was also involved in projects on vaccine efficacy, which are being continued in 2021. Alongside the activities related to COVID-19, the group also continued the projects already started in previous years, also in collaboration with other groups, aimed at the identification of novel features of the neoplasia micro and macroenvironments.