The main interest areas of our laboratory are:
- study of amyloidogenic proteins and identification of new therapeutic strategies for diseases characterised by amyloid accumulation (i.e. Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases, peripheralamyloidosis)
- development of new analytical assays for compounds, endogenous biomarkers, drugs, proteins, and therapeutic antibodies.
These studies involve pharmacodynamic aspects, particularly the interactions between molecules through Surface Plasmon Resonance, as well as pharmacokinetic aspects using different analytical methods, including mass spectrometry.
Alzheimer’s disease and other amyloidoses
The deposition of pathological protein aggregates (amyloids) is associated with some diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases and some peripheral amyloidoses. This laboratory investigates the properties of these amyloidogenic proteins to identify new potential targets and therapies. Some research projects aim to develop new tests for early diagnosis and recognition of atypical forms of Alzheimer's disease, to identify patients who could most benefit from these therapies.
New tests for the identification of molecules with anti-ischemic activity
Our Institute has actively contributed to the discovery that lectins, proteins regulating some activities of the immune system, are involved in the generation of brain damage after ischemic stroke. In our laboratory, we are developing new methods based on Surface Plasmon Resonance to identify molecules able to counteract the detrimental effects of lectins. These compounds have neuroprotective activity in animal models undergoing ischemia; thus, they are a promising strategy for the treatment of ischemic brain stroke.
Identification of mechanisms inducing neurological complications of cardiac arrest
Most patients who survive cardiac arrest show signs of brain damage. Recent data, many of which obtained in our Institute, reveal that the kynurenine pathway is involved in this detrimental process. We are investigating if kynurenine proteins are responsible for the brain damage following heart function loss. The kynurenine pathway could represent a novel pharmacological target useful to reduce morbidity and mortality in patients after cardiac arrest.
New tests for personalised therapies with monoclonal antibodies
Many monoclonal antibodies are being approved in the clinical practice for their therapeutic benefit. Unfortunately, some patients do not respond, probably because of the onset of anti-drug antibodies that counteract the therapeutic activity. In our laboratory, we are developing a new test based on a microchip system that allows capturing and measuring both drug and anti-drug antibodies in patient blood. Clinicians will use this test to tailor treatment for individual patient.
Pharmacokinetic properties and brain levels of new psychoactive substances
New psychoactive substances (NSPs) are narcotic or psychotropic substances that mimic established illicit drugs, without any regulation by international conventions. They represent a serious threat to public health. Our research activity aims to increase the knowledge about NSP effects and contribute to control their abuse. We are developing analytical methods for the measurement of some NSPs. These methods are being used to characterise the pharmacokinetic profiles of NSPs in animal models, correlating them with their psychotropic effects.
Blood concentrations of drugs against multiple sclerosis
The laboratory is involved in a multicenter randomized clinical trial, under the guidance of the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta of Milan. This study aims to compare the efficacy of two oral drugs approved for multiple sclerosis and used in real clinical practice. In particular, we will measure the concentrations of the two drugs in patient blood using analytical methods that we have previously developed and validated according to the international guidelines. These data will provide the basis for a better interpretation of the clinical data.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.