Using advanced technologies and innovative biomaterials in vitro and in vivo models have been created to investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of common and rare neurodegenerative disorders.
Therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease and prion disorders are developed, while a Unit within the lab is dedicated to traumatic spinal injury. In collaboration with numerous neurological centers, biological samples are collected to develop genetic studies and identify potential biomarkers.
Alzheimer and Parkinson: genetic studies and possible early markers of disease
The development of therapeutic strategies is associated with the identification of biological markers to monitor the treatment efficacy. This concept is particularly important in chronic disorders like Alzheimer and Parkinson disease that have a long lasting development. The availability of early biological markers could permit the anticipation of treatments in a pre-symptomatic phase with an obvious advantage for the disease modifying treatments. Furthermore the combination of biological and genetic markers can contribute to elaborate risk profiles useful to personalize the therapies.
Neurodegenerative disorders: new therapeutic and preventive strategies
Several aspects of neurodegenerative disorders are investigated using in vitro and in vivo models to test the efficacy of therapeutic approaches. In some cases the therapy developed at the experimental level has reached the clinical stage, it is ongoing a study supported by Telethon to test the efficacy of a preventive treatment with doxycycline in subjects at risk to develop fatal familial insomnia, a prion disorder. The cellular therapy is an innovative approach to Alzheimer's disease that we are consolidate at the experimental level in collaboration with University of Genoa.
Neurodegenerative disorders: the role of protein aggregation and inflammation
The protein misfolding and neuroinflammation are common tracts in virtually all neurodegenerative disorders. Using in vivo models based on the neurotoxicity of α-synuclein oligomers in Parkinson and Lewy bodies dementia and β-amyloid oligomers in Alzheimer's disease, we have shown analogies and differences in their neurotoxic and inflammatory effects, useful elements to clarify the pathogenic mechanism of these disorders.
Neurodegeneration: sirtuin modulation
Sirtuins are a class of enzymatic proteins with deacetylation activity, in different contexts their activation, in particular sirtuin 1(Sirt-1), has been associated with positive effects on inferior organisms survival. We have shown in various experimental models the protective affects of Sirt-1 and, more recently, a protective effect associated with inhibition of Sirt-2. In well-know models of Parkinson and Alzheimer disease we are investigating pharmacological approaches targeting both sirtuin activities in opposite way to obtain synergic effects against the neuronal dysfunction.
Genetics of aging and frailty
The interest around the concept of frailty in elderly is growing for its obvious consequences in terms of public health, disorder, disability and mortality are associated to frailty. Using samples from longitudinal study in elderly population conducted by Golgi-Cenci Research Center in Abbiategrasso, in collaboration with Mondino Institute in Pavia, we would like to associate at frailty condition specific alterations of genetic epigenetic and biological parameters to develop experimental models useful to clarify the molecular bases of these alterations
Drugs: development of biomaterials and nanoparticles for controlled release
The development of biomaterials can have different applications both in relation to pathologies and utilization. Together with the application in neurodegenerative disorders using biomaterials obtained by Polytechnic of Milan and Bicocca University, nanoparticles targeting specific cells are also studied in spinal injury model. In this model availability of biomaterials capable to control the release of drugs is particularly relevant for the possibility to realize a local implants. Nanoparticles are also utilized to improve the blood bran barrier passage of drugs active in Alzheimer's disease.
The availability of MRI instrument for small animals permitted to develop longitudinal therapeutic and diagnostic investigations using a limited number of animals. MRI analysis in animal models can be directly compared with similar results in humans. Microscopy techniques with innovative methodologies are also available capable to obtain not only morphological evidence but also dynamic and functional information to understand the relationship between and within cells.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.