Regina Elena Institute (IRE)
Prof. Gennaro Ciliberto
The Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome (IRE) has been operating since 1933 in the most advanced research and cancer therapy.
The IRE is involved in national and international research, in biomolecular and instrumental diagnostics, in epidemiology and early diagnostics, and it implements standard or innovative protocols for the treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients. All activities are characterized by intense integration between the clinical and experimental areas. The Institute maintains a high-quality level and is ISO 9001/2015 certified and, in the European Union, has obtained OECI accreditation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. The interdepartmental organization ensures a multidisciplinary approach, optimizing and integrating prevention, early diagnosis, and therapy. In this perspective, the Translational Research Groups aim to promote a multidisciplinary and synergistic association between research and the clinic to accomplish translational research with significant clinical relapse in a relatively short time. Each study group includes professionals with different training and experience.
The enhancement in translational research activity has led to the intensification of personalized and precision medicine, a new approach for treating and preventing diseases, which considers the genetic and epigenetic profile of individual cancers, genetic predisposition, environment, and lifestyle of each person. Oncogenomics, Epigenetics, Proteomics and Pharmacogenetics are the tools that support the research in studying, analyzing gene expression profiles, identifying specific alterations relevant to pathogenesis, prognosis, therapy, and the identification of the most favorable pharmacological and/or therapeutic combinations.
The Oncology Biobank for Research Purposes IRE (BBIRE) was established to implement basic, clinical, and translational oncology research. The BBIRE represents a strategic asset and aims to collect, preserve, and distribute human biological material, tissues, and biological fluids, and associated data. At the time of this writing (October 2019), the Oncology Biobank held more than 5,000 cryopreserved samples of tumour tissue fragments and more than 40,000 vials of biological fluids (predominantly serum and plasma) from cancer patients.
In support of precision medicine, the IRE has promoted the following activities: i) Molecular Tumor Board (MTB), a discussion board aimed at identifying cutting-edge personalized therapeutic profiles for the treatment of cancer patients; ii) Immunotherapy Unit, considering the central role of the patient’s immune system in the onset of cancer, IRE has created an Immunotherapy Task Force equipped with a technological platform for multiparameter immunological monitoring in oncological patients before and during immunotherapeutic and radiotherapy treatment in order to identify immunological parameters predictive of response. In addition, a new program has been launched to improve the efficacy of CAR-T in solid tumors; iii) Phase I-II Study Center, which has the strategic goal of bridging the ‘gaps’ between experimental and clinical research, on the one hand, and between clinical research and direct patient care, on the other; iv) innovative therapeutic presides such as proton therapy and Gamma Knife. Moreover, the Institute plays a primary role in the study and treatment of rare adult cancers with over 800 new cases treated each year and has obtained accreditation from the European network EURACAN.
In surgery, the Institute was among the first to introduce laparoscopy and robotics for increasingly conservative interventions and optimize robotic techniques in all districts. An example of this is the Gynecologic Oncology Surgery Unit that performs 85% of the interventions with minimally invasive procedures. The Unit is among the few in Italy and Europe to perform robotic surgery with a single micro-incision of the umbilicus. The operating rooms are high-tech and multimedia. A modern sentinel lymph node analysis technique for breast cancer and the extensive use of laparoscopic procedures are always used to safeguard patient life quality and ensure the best therapeutic efficacy.
The IRE is equipped with a Skeletal Muscle Tissue Bank, the only one in central and southern Italy, and an ovarian tissue bank, the first public center in Italy.
The IRE is also a regional referral center for digestive endoscopy and familial polyposis, and home care for neurosurgical patients, while it is a national referral center for cancerous epilepsy.
The IRE is also a member of the ‘Union International Contre le Cancer’ (U.I.C.C.), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (E.O.R.T.C. – Early ClinicaI Trial Group) and the Italian and European networks for translational research A-IATRIS and EATRIS, respectively
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