Regina Elena Institute (IRE)
Prof. Gennaro Ciliberto
The National Cancer Institute Regina Elena of Rome (IRE) has been operating since 1933 in the most advanced areas of research and therapy of cancer diseases. The IRE is involved in national and international research, in biomolecular and instrumental diagnostics, in epidemiology and early diagnosis of cancer and implements innovative protocols for the treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients. All activities are characterized by a high level of integration between the clinical and experimental areas. The Institute maintains high levels of quality and is certified ISO 9001/2015 and, at European level has obtained OECI accreditation as Comprehensive Cancer Center. The interdepartmental organization guarantees a multidisciplinary approach, optimizing and integrating prevention, early diagnosis and therapy; in this context, the Translational Research Groups work to promote a multidisciplinary and synergistic aggregation between the research area and the clinical area in order to carry out translational research with significant impact on the clinic
The increase in translational research activity has led to the intensification of personalized and precision medicine, a new approach to the treatment and prevention of diseases, which takes into account the genetic and epigenetic footprint of individual tumors, genetic predisposition, environment and lifestyle of each person. Oncogenomics, Epigenetics, Proteomics and Pharmacogenetics are the tools that allow to study and analyze gene expression profiles for the identification of specific alterations that are relevant to the pathogenesis, prognosis and therapy, as well as for the identification of the most favorable pharmacological and/or therapeutic combinations. In order to implement basic, clinical and translational oncological research, the IRE (BBIRE) Oncological Biobank has been established for research purposes. It represents a strategic asset of the Institute and has the purpose of collecting, storing and distributing human biological material, tissues and biological fluids, and the data associated with them. At the time of writing of this document (October 2019), the Oncological Biobank is the repository of more than 5,000 cryopreserved samples of fragments of tumor tissue and more than 40,000 vials of biological fluids (mainly serum and plasma) from cancer patients.
In support to precision medicine, IRE has promoted the following activities: i) Molecular Tumor Board (MTB), a group discussion 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 establishment of a tumor, IRE has created an Immunotherapy Task Force equipped with a technological platform for multiparametric immunological monitoring of cancer patients before and during immunotherapeutic and radiotherapy treatment in order to identify predictive immunological parameters of response. In addition, a new program directed to improve efficacy of CAR-T in solid tumors has been started; iii) Phase I Study Centre: the Centre’s strategic objective is to fill the gaps between experimental and clinical research on one hand, and between clinical research and direct patient care on the other; iv) innovative therapeutic treatments such as proton therapy and Gamma Knife. In addition, the Institute plays a leading role in the study and treatment of rare adult cancers with over 800 new cases taken care of each year and has obtained accreditation from the European network EURACAN.
In oncological surgery, the Institute was one of the first to introduce the use of laparoscopy and robotics for increasingly conservative procedures and is committed to optimizing robotic techniques in all districts. An example of this is the gynaecological oncology surgery unit, which performs 85% of the operations with minimally invasive techniques. The Unit is one of the few in Italy and Europe to perform robotic surgery with a single umbilicus micro-incision. The operating theatres have a high technological and multimedia content. A modern sentinel lymph node analysis technique for breast cancer and the extensive use of laparoscopic techniques are used with the aim to always safeguarding the patient’s quality of life to the maximum, guaranteeing the best therapeutic efficacy.
IRE has a Skeletal Muscle Tissue Bank, unique in the centre and south of Italy, and an Ovarian Tissue Bank, the first public centre in Italy. IRE is also a regional reference centre for digestive endoscopy and family polyposis, and home care for neurosurgical patients, while it is a national reference centre for tumour epilepsy.
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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