Cervical Cancer During Pregnancy, Though Serious, is Highly Treatable According to New Research Review

Newswise — A team of researchers in the Gynecologic Oncology Unit of the University Hospital of Bologna, in collaboration with Professor Antonio Giordano from the Sbarro Health Research Organization, has published a revision of the literature about cases of cervical cancer in pregnancy, with the addition of new cases treated at the University Hospital of Bologna. Their work appears in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

“Cancer during pregnancy is defined as a tumor diagnosed in pregnant women, or in the immediate postpartum,” says Myriam Perrone MD, PhD of the Gynecologic Oncologic Unit and first author of the manuscript. “In the last decade, we observed an increase in incidence of this condition, largely due to later childbearing, and although it has been hypothesized that hormones and growth factors necessary for fetal development may accelerate tumor growth, evidence suggests that pregnancy is not necessarily a poor prognostic factor for patients’ survival.

“Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer or pre-cancer diagnosed during pregnancy or postpartum, and occurs in approximately 0.004-0.1% of pregnant women. The rarity of the condition makes large trial studies impossible, and guidelines up to now are based on small case and expert opinions,” Perrone concludes.

“For these reasons, today, diagnostic tools and treatment are similar in pregnant and non pregnant women, with some differences,” explains Alessandro Bovicelli, MD, PhD of the Gynecologic Oncology Unit of the University of Bologna and co-author of the manuscript. “In pregnant women, conservative surgery can be proposed as primary treatment of early stage cervical cancer, such as cone and lymphadenectomy. However, in women with advanced stage, neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a possible option of treatment.”

“Individualized therapies are strongly recommended and the treatment decision should be made collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team consisting of obstetricians, gynecologists, oncologists, pediatricians, and psychologists,” adds Professor Pierandrea De Iaco, Director of Gynecologic Oncology Unit of University Hospital of Bologna. “Over the years and with the publication of new studies, the treatment strategy has gradually changed to a more conservative treatment, particularly for patients in second or third trimester with early stage cancer. Furthermore, it has been reported that neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been successful at controlling the disease and delaying delivery until fetal maturity, without serious adverse effects on the mother and foetus.

“Time of delivery must be evaluated with obstetricians, as the point of fetal maturity is the main issue,” concludes De Iaco.

“Cancer in pregnancy is not an acute emergency and clinicians should take all the time necessary to study the case and offer the best diagnosis and therapy,” says Perrone. “Treatment of patients with cancer in pregnancy should be offered in gynecologic oncology centers associated with experienced perinatal centers to provide patients with expertise in all needed aspects.

“In the future, the development of molecular markers and their routine use could help in the clinical decision making,” concludes Perrone.

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org

Original Newswise Release          Journal Article

Brain Cancer Drug Reactivates Body’s Natural Defenses

Drug reactivates p53 tumor suppressor protein and increases chemotherapy effectiveness in potential glioblastoma breakthrough.

Newswise — A team of researchers have published in the International Journal of Oncology that RITA, a drug able to reactivate the oncosuppressor function of p53, could be an effective strategy to treat glioblastoma. The study’s authors include collaborators from the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), at the Center for Biotechnology, Temple University in Philadelphia, the National Cancer Institute “G. Pascale” Foundation of Naples, Italy, and the Oncology Research Center of Mercogliano (CROM).

Glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer, is a deadly disease for which there is no cure. Known for resistance to conventional treatments, such as the chemotherapy drug temozolomide, glioblastoma is the form of cancer that ultimately lead to the recent death of U.S. Senator John McCain.

Our study shows the effects of a small molecule designed to reactivate the p53 protein, one of the most important ‘tumor suppressors’, which is turned off in most human cancers, including glioblastoma,” says Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Director and Founder of the SHRO and Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the University of Siena. “RITA is able to specifically reduce tumor cell proliferation without affecting healthy cells, and RITA is also able to induce massive apoptosis — a type of programmed cell death.”

“The p53 protein has a crucial role in inhibiting cancer development, inducing cell cycle arrest or triggering apoptosis,” says Paola Indovina, researcher at SHRO and lead author of the study. “Understanding how p53 determines a cell’s fate is crucial in order to identify new therapeutic strategies.

“RITA is also able to reduce expression of MGMT protein,” Indovina adds. “This reduction mechanism is associated with a better response to chemotherapy treatment correlated with increased survival.”

“The ability of RITA to induce apoptosis is remarkable, considering that glioblastoma is a very aggressive tumor,” says Iris Maria Forte, biologist at CROM and co-first author of the paper. “Additionally, this compound worked in synergy with temozolomide in the most aggressive histotype of glioblastoma. These findings suggest that its use in a clinical setting could possibly help to reduce the required doses and to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

“We hope that RITA, in combination with other antitumor treatments, could be a useful compound to fight this cancer and to allow at least an improvement in the quality of life of glioblastoma patients,” Forte concludes.


Enzyme Inhibition May Lead to New Melanoma Therapy, Say Researchers at Fox Chase with Support from Sbarro Institute

Newswise — Inhibition of the cellular enzyme thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) may be an effective treatment for melanoma, according to research published in the journal Oncogene in January. The paper, “Thymine DNA glycosylase as a novel target for melanoma,” describes how inhibition of TDG, known for its role in cell repair and proliferation, may be used to trigger cell death of cancerous melanoma cells and halt tumor growth.  

“These findings suggest that TDG may provide critical functions specific to cancer cells that make it highly suitable as an anti-melanoma drug target,” said senior author Alfonso Bellacosa, MD, PhD, professor of cancer epigenetics at Fox Chase Cancer Center at Temple University. “By potentially disrupting both DNA repair and the epigenetic state, targeting TDG may represent a completely new approach to melanoma therapy.”

Researchers at the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research, directed by Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, also contributed to the study at Temple University. Scientists at SHRO assisted with statistical analysis of animal model data used in the study, among other things.  

“This is an important study that may lead to the identification of powerful TDG inhibitors for pre-clinical and clinical studies,” said Giordano. “A few pharmaceutical companies have already shown a lot of interest and enthusiasm towards this approach.”  

The research was conducted by lead authors Pietro Mancuso, PhD, and Rossella Tricarico, PhD, in Bellacosa’s lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center, with a team of international collaborators including scientists at the Curie Institute, France, and at the University of Siena, Italy, where Mancuso was recently awarded the prestigious title of Doctor Europæus.

“This study highlights the mission of SHRO to support junior investigators from Italy,” added Giordano. “This research was the PhD thesis of Pietro Mancuso, who I have had the privilege to co-mentor at the University of Siena, along with Prof. Bellacosa at Fox Chase, and Prof. Larue at the Curie Institute,” concluded Giordano.  

To read more about the study, visit https://www.foxchase.org/news/2019-01-23-Bellacosa-Inhibiting-Enzyme-May-Lead-to-Innovative-Melanoma-Therapy

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org

Original NewsWise Post

Decoy Damaged DNA Discovers New Gene Repair Protein

Research identifies HNRNPD as a new safeguard of genome integrity


Luigi Alfano (left), Antonio Giordano (center), Francesca Pentimalli (right)

Newswise — Researchers used a synthetic DNA structure to mimic an intermediate of homologous recombination, the most reliable cell cycle process to repair DNA correctly. This DNA structure was then used as bait to capture nuclear proteins in the hopes of identifying a new player in the cellular response to DNA damage. These proteins were isolated and subsequently identified through mass spectrometry, revealing that the Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein D (HNRNPD) was indeed able to bind chromatin DNA, a prerequisite for a protein involved in DNA repair, and to re-localize specifically onto DNA damaged sites.

The study reporting on this newly discovered role for HNRNPD, previously known for its role in messenger RNA regulation, was recently published in Nucleic Acids Research, one of the most authoritative journals in the field, from the Oxford Academic Press, by the research team lead by Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Temple University, and Professor of Pathology, University of Siena, Italy.

Because protecting the genome against DNA damage is crucial to prevent harmful mutations and cancer development, the authors utilized a ‘gene fishing’ approach using the synthetic DNA structure that was designed by Luigi Alfano, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute of Naples, Pascale Foundation-CROM in Mercogliano, working in the Cell Cycle & Cancer Lab coordinated by Francesca Pentimalli, a longtime collaborator of Prof. Giordano and Adjunct Professor at the Sbarro Institute. The captured proteins were analyzed under mass spectrometry by Luca Bini and Claudia Landi at the University of Siena. Alfano and colleagues focused on the RNA-binding protein HNRNPD, the loss of which induces cell senescence and premature aging in mice, two features associated with a defective DNA damage response.

Upon DNA damage, cells activate homologous recombination repair to cut the DNA near the break (a process known as DNA end resection), generating a single stranded DNA tail that is able to find the complementary homologous sequence within the sister chromatid, using it as a template for faithful repair. The authors found that silencing HNRNPD expression impaired the DNA end resection process, affecting the overall DNA damage response. Similarly, depleting HNRNPD through CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing, impaired the cell response to DNA damage induced by the chemotherapy drug camptothecin, making cancer cells more susceptible to this drug and also to olaparib, a drug that targets specifically the DNA repair process used against some types of breast and ovarian cancer.

“The inhibition of HNRNPD, through chemical compounds, can be used as a new strategy for cancer treatment in a combination therapy with the PARP1 inhibitor (Olaparib),” Giordano says. “Based on the concept of synthetic lethality, this potential clinical application is analogous to the situation described for the BRCA cancers.”

Delving deeper into the underlying molecular mechanisms, the authors found that HNRNPD interacts with SAF-A, another RNA-binding protein previously found correlated to the DNA damage response. The authors showed that HNRNPD silencing impaired the loading of SAF-A onto chromatin upon DNA damage. Moreover, HNRNPD silencing caused an accumulation, onto damaged DNA, of DNA:RNA hybrids (also called R-loops) whose proper removal is required to preserve genome integrity. Indeed, expressing RNase H, an enzyme that digests the RNA within the hybrids, or inhibiting RNA formation through alpha-amanitin, could rescue the phenotype of HNRNPD knockout cells, reinstating an effective DNA damage response.

“Overall, our data strengthens the role of RNA-binding proteins in the DNA repair mechanism and identify HNRNPD as a new key player in DNA repair,”  says lead author Alfano. “They also provide new clues on the still poorly defined function of R-loop role in DNA damage repair.”

“Targeting DNA repair pathways proved to be a powerful approach for cancer therapy, as epitomized by the clinical use of olaparib for various tumors,” say co-authors Pentimalli and Giordano. “The identification of HNRNPD as an homologous recombination protein could be useful to design new synthetic lethal approaches and also inform genome editing strategies that use endogenous cell repair pathways to modify DNA sequences.”

The discovery caught the attention of Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, commenting on Facebook, “Exceptional discovery by the team of Italian researchers led by Professor Antonio Giordano. You are the symbol of the best minds of our country in the world.”

Also sending congratulations via social media, Minister of Education, University and Research Marco Bussetti wrote on Twitter, “Congratulations to the team led by Professor Antonio Giordano, who I recently appointed to the Governing Committee of the newly established Southern University in Naples.”

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org


Original NewsWise Release           PubMed Abstract

Potential to Better Treat Mesothelioma Revealed by Precision Medicine Research

Newswise — Researchers have successfully identified two genetic markers for potentially effective treatment of Mesothelioma, an orphan disease most commonly associated with asbestos exposure, and for which few treatments exist. Two recent studies co-authored by researchers from the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) at Temple University describe the findings of the relationship between p53, BAP1, and Mesothelioma, and the treatment pathways they may reveal.

Published in October, 2018, the paper “p53 Modeling as a Route to Mesothelioma Patients Stratification and Novel Therapeutic Identification,” appeared in the Journal of Translational Medicine, and January, “BAP1 Status Determines the Sensitivity of Malignant Mesothelioma Cells to Gemcitabine Treatment,” was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

The studies represent the potential of Personalised Medicine, an innovative approach to clinical medicine meant to customize treatment for an individual patient. In oncology, this most often refers to gene expression-based therapeutic decisions aimed at the identification of “driving genes” responsible for carcinogenesis and tumour progression.

Unfortunately, in the clinical setting, the simple idea of finding one mutated gene causing cancer is rare, and despite some encouraging results, only 4-7% of patients really benefit from treatment based on the tumour genetic profile. Complications such as tumor heterogeneity may determine the poor performance of genetic profiling to reveal effective treatments: different genetic profiles co-exist within the same tumour, epigenetic abnormalities not directly affecting DNA are indirectly responsible for genome expression, and the tumor microenvironment can also exert a pivotal role in gene expression.

In spite of these challenges, researchers have identified ways in which p53, a well-known tumor suppressor gene, may be used to stratify patients for the most favorable treatment protocol. Often referred to as the “guardian of the genome,” p53 functions to limit the proliferation of deformed cells and cells with imperfectly replicated DNA.

The prevalence of p53 inactivation in Mesothelioma prompted researchers to carry out a combined biological and bioinformatic study to explore how data about p53 can be used in translational research. The comparison of model simulations with experimental data resulted in a successful prediction from 52-85%, depending on the drug, algorithm, or sample used for validation.

“This study offers a good approach to test the real impact of genetic studies in precision medicine,” says Luciano Mutti, M.D., Adjunct Professor of Translational Oncology, SHRO, and co-author of the study. “We included in silico and in vitro analysis with cellular validation of the p53 model,” Mutti says, “and we believe it will have a potential for use in Mesothelioma treatment by identifying patient sub-populations that are likely to respond to particular drugs.”

The model may also aid in the identification chemotherapy resistance, the authors conclude, which is common in Mesothelioma.

Mutti collaborated on the study with Marija Krstic-Demonacos, Ph.D., Chair of Molecular Medicine at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK. The authors would like to thank the non-profit association Gruppo Italiano Mesotelioma (GIMe) for their support.

BRCA Associated 1 gene (BAP1) is another tumour suppressor gene recently shown to be inactivated in up to 60% patients with Mesothelioma. Therefore, researchers designed a study to exploit the strictly defined role of BAP1 to repair imperfections in cellular DNA, and tested for indications that BAP1 status could drive chemosensitivity and help identify the right drugs for Mesothelioma treatment. For example, testing the effect of the common Mesothelioma chemotherapy agent, Gemcitibine, on tumor cells with either normal or inactivated BAP1, researchers found that the cells with inactivated BAP1 were resistant to the effects of Gemcitabine, rendering the chemotherapy less effective.

“The results have been unusually clear-cut,” says Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Director of SHRO, and co-author of the paper with Mutti, “and further study of BAP1 and p53 can help us identify the best treatment for Mesothelioma in clinical oncology.

“These studies serve as a sign that Personalised Medicine can become an important weapon against Mesothelioma,” Giordano concludes.

NewsWise Release

Metastatic Breast Cancer Survival Improves with New CDK-Inhibitor Plus Endocrine Therapy

Patients with HER2 negative, hormonal receptor positive metastatic breast cancer experienced improved survival when treated with a combination of endocrine therapy and the new CDK-inhibitor, palbociclib. Results from a recent study, published in the Journal of Cell Physiology, suggest that palbociclib, in combination with either letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, or fulvestrant, a selective estrogen receptor down-regulator, improves the so-called progression free survival in women with HR+HER2-metatastatic breast cancer by as much as 10 months when compared to endocrine therapy alone.

The study, “Palbociclib plus endocrine therapy in HER2 negative, hormonal receptor positive, advanced breast cancer. A real-world experience,” was conducted by a multidisciplinary Italian-American team with a long and productive history of collaboration with Prof. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph. D., Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research, and the Sbarro Health Research Organization, Temple University.

“Palbociclib is the first of a new class of drugs that work by inhibiting two crucial cell division proteins called CDK4 and CDK6,” explains Dr. Patrizia Vici, medical oncologist at the Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

In the study, researchers focused on the use of Palbociclib in clinical practice, in order to collect data on the new drug’s efficacy and toxicity in support of evidence established from clinical trials.

“In this study, we sought confirmative evidence from the real world setting concerning the use of palbociclib in HR+HER2-metatastatic breast cancer,” says Dr. Maddalena Barba, researcher at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome. “Clinical trial results do not always tell us everything we need to know for the clinical setting, because metastatic breast cancer patients are often heavily pre-treated, and may present related comorbidities.”

“When globally considered, these characteristics may be more often associated with less favorable outcomes,” says Barba.

“Overall, the evidence emerged from this cohort of Italian HR+HER2-metatastatic breast cancer patients, the largest ever treated with palbociclib in clinical practice so far, confirming the efficacy and toxicity data from the clinical trials,” explains Giordano, senior scientist and scientific advisor for the entire project.

“In addition, some intriguing findings have emerged from subgroup analyses showing less favorable outcomes in women pre-treated with the chemotherapy agent everolimus,” says Giordano. “This is a first time finding, which suggests the need for confirmation and further investigation of the underlying mechanisms in a future study.”

Original Newswise Post              Pubmed Abstract           Journal of Cellular Physiology

SHRO Partners with Film Festival to Recognize Importance of Virtual Reality in Medicine and Celebrate Italian-Origin Filmmakers

SHRO-Italian-film-festivalNewswise — The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) at Temple University is dedicated to international research collaboration between American and Italian scientists, continuing the legacy of Italian leadership in the sciences since the time of ancient Rome. In that same tradition, SHRO has been thrilled to support Italian-American achievement in the arts, especially when those efforts serve the greater good through advocacy for public health and socially conscious subjects.

This week, SHRO partners with the Italian Movie Award International Film Festival to support Italian-American work in cinema, particularly in recognition for accomplishments with the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in applications in medicine. The annual film festival, held each summer in Pompeii, is holding the first ever companion event in New York to present jury prizes with criteria to promote Italian-origin filmmakers living abroad, with particular attention to inclusivity of the filmmaker’s gender, age, and diversity. The festival award ceremony takes place December 10 at the The Paley Center for Media in Manhattan.

“The Sbarro Health Research Organization is honored to participate in this year’s film festival awards and to support Italian-origin filmmakers around the world,” says Mina Massaro-Giordano, M.D. “The contributions of Italians to both medicine and culture represents a legacy that our organization is proud to carry on,” Massaro-Giordano says. As Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania Scheie Eye Institute, Dr. Massaro-Giordano has collaborated with researchers at SHRO and is married to SHRO Director Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D.

The theme of this year’s film festival focuses on the future, which organizers have emphasized to celebrate the potential for a better future when medical-scientific research, technology and entertainment meet. The festival aims to inspire the next generation of filmmakers to explore new technologies, such as VR, by disseminating extraordinary results and patents obtained in research by SHRO in the use of VR in the medical-scientific sector.

“We are proud to continue our multi-year collaboration between Italian Movie Award – International Film Festival and the Sbarro Health Research Organization, under the leadership of Dr. Antonio Giordano,” says Carlo Fumo, Italian film director and President and Artistic Director of the Festival.

“In particular this year, our theme dedicated to the Future underscores the importance of  progress made by SHRO in the application of Virtual Reality in scientific medical research for a better future for all mankind,” Fumo adds. “We are proud to honor their work as part of our festival.”

The event is in partnership with Plural + Youth Video Festival organized by the United Nations and in particular by UNAOC (United Nation Alliance Of Civilization), and the SHRO (Sbarro Health Research Organization) directed by Dr. Prof. Antonio Giordano.

About the Festival

Begun in 2009 by founder and current president, director Carlo Fumo, who came up with the idea of a cinematographic international festival that could enhance Italy’s unique cultural and historical heritage and its tourist industry. More than a simple festival event, but a proper network of young experts able to create audiovisual works, spread the cinematographic culture by screening works coming from all around the world, attracting great personalities of the cinema to attend, and educating young people by means of masters and advanced training workshops. All these features, gathered inside the great region of Campania, have created a unique cultural, tourist and educational institution.

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org


Original Newswise Reelase

Italian-American Foundation Honors Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD Founder & President of Sbarro Health Research Organization

2018-Giordano-IAFNewswise — Italian-American Foundation, Filitalia, honors Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, Founder & President of Sbarro Health Research Organization at Temple University with the Humanitarian award at the foundation’s 31st Anniversary Gala.

Filitalia International & Foundation celebrates 31 years of commitment, dedication and service at their Annual Gala Dinner on Sunday, November 11, 2018. The foundation and its donors have contributed to initiatives championed by the Italian American community in the Greater Philadelphia area, among them the opening of the History of Italian Immigration Museum in 2014.

”The mission of this foundation is to help promote the talent of Italian-Americans in various industries and disciplines,” Giordano says, “ and considering that historically, Italy has generated great discoveries in the arts, medicine, and business, it is vital for us to carry on that tradition and maintain that legacy in the modern world.”

“To be recognized as an example of the contribution of Italian-Americans in this country, by a foundation that was created by other professional, successful Italians, is a great honor,” says Giordano.

In 1993, Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., founded the Sbarro Institute with a generous donation from Mario Sbarro, the Founder of the Sbarro restaurant chain, following Dr. Giordano’s discovery of the tumor suppressor gene pRb2. Giordano now serves as Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center of Biotechnology, at the College of Science and Technology, Temple University, as well as Professor of Pathology at the University of Siena, Italy.

Giordano recently organized the medical conference, “The Impact of Environment and Healthy Lifestyles in Human Health,” at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) annual convention, with awards for achievement in medicine presented from the Giovan Giacomo Giordano Foundation.

The research team lead by Giordano continues to make significant medical breakthroughs, including recent studies on the identification of a potential target for treatment of mesothelioma, understanding a protein that governs cell death in cancer, and further potential of the CDK9 gene to control the cell cycle.

The Filitalia International & Foundation celebrates their 31st anniversary with other honorees including Lee Norelli, AP Construction – President, UNICO National, and Dr. Louis De Angelo, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Wilmington, DE.

About Filitalia International & Foundation

Filitalia International is a non profit organization, founded in 1987 to promote and preserve the Italian tradition, language and culture worldwide. The goal is to consolidate and expand the Italian heritage through social events and humanitarian programs. Filitalia is committed in several projects, such as scholarships, Italian language classes, networking for young professionals and cultural events, by encouraging anyone to learn more about Italy and its heritage.

The Filitalia Foundation 501 (c) 3 opened the History of Italian Immigration Museum with the aim to sustain Italian-American heritage through stories that resonate with diverse cultures, connecting the Italian-American community with its cultural roots, and sharing Italian heritage with people of all backgrounds.

The organization was founded by cardiologist Dr. Pasquale Nestico, inspired by a love for his birthplace, Isca sullo Ionio, in Calabria, Italy. Nestico is joined in leading the foundation by past president Rosetta Miriello, and incoming president Marc Virga.


President Marc Virga

Founder Pasquale F. Nestico, M.D.

Immediate Past President Rosetta Miriello

1st Vice President Paula DeSantics-Bonavitacola

2nd Vice & Governor Henry Amanto

Secretary Alexis Tulio

Treasurer Gianfranco Buonamici

Legal Counsel Joseph Rollo, Esq.

Auditor Ernest DiFilippo

Board Members

Anthony Colavita, MD – Joseph D’Ascenzo, Esq.

Anna Di Paola – Anna Di Nardo

Saverio Nestico – Giacomo Presta

Mario Presta – Salvatore Rosati – Nicholas Santangelo

Executive Director

Marco Circelli

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org


Original Newswise Release

Healthier Planet, Healthier People, and More Innovative Medical Science with Italian-American Researchers at Annual NIAF Convention

Brochure  The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), in collaboration with Temple University’s College of Science and Technology, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), and the Giovan Giacomo Giordano Foundation will host the medical conference “The Impact of Environment and Healthy Lifestyles in Human Health” 9 A.M on Saturday, October 13th at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The conference will feature introductions presented by SHRO’s President Antonio Giordano who is also director of Temple’s Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center for Biotechnology and by Temple University Vice President for Research, Michele Masucci, PhD. Temple and CST are leaders in biotech research and development, and recently launched masters programs in both bioinnovation and biotechnology.

Guest speakers include Roberto Lucchini, MD, Giuseppe Loianno, PhD., and Giacomina Massaro-Giordano, M.D. Dr. Lucchini,  Director of the Occupational Medicine Center of the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai NY and  professor at University of Brescia Italy, will address “Impacts of Environmental Hazards on Human Health: From the 9/11 Dust to the Industrial Emissions of Taranto, Puglia”. Dr. Loianno will discuss “Drones for Health: Agricultural and Infrastructure Monitoring” and Dr. Massaro-Giordano will report on “Dompe: FDA Approval of the First Medicine Based on Human Nerve Growth Factor: An Italian Pharma Success Story.”  A special recognition will be given to Nathalie Dompé for her work and effort promoting social responsibility and in particular with the visually impaired.

The conference will culminate in the presentation of the 2018 Giovan Giacomo Giordano NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award for Ethics and Creativity in Medical Research by  Dr. Giacomina Massaro. This award was established seven years ago in honor of Dr. Giordano’s father, the late Professor Giovan Giacomo Giordano, renowned pathologist and former chair of the Department of Pathology, Second University of Naples, who dedicated more than sixty years of his life to the study of cancer and the role of environmental factors in the onset of this disease.  Professor Giovan Giacomo Giordano was also a major advocate against corruption in the Italian medical community and driving force for the establishment of medical ethical standards among his colleagues. Furthermore, special guest, Ms. Nathalie Dompé, CEO Dompé Holdings, Vice President, Business Development at Dompé Pharmaceuticals responsible for the oversight, market development and strategic approval of all new programs launched by the Company in the United States, will receive the Special Award for Societal Impact in Business & Biotechnology.

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org

New MicroRNA Target May Inhibit Mesothelioma and Unveils Method to Identify Potential Treatments

Newswise — Inhibition of miR-24-3p reduced growth of cancer cells and was found to regulate proteins as a potential treatment target for Mesothelioma (MPM). The new potential target, and the method researchers have used to identify it, is an important step in addressing this challenging disease.

MPM is a lethal cancer with increasing worldwide incidence and resistance to treatment. Despite this dreadful scenario, preclinical research has struggled to identify potential treatments.

“The ‘one more indication’ strategy is not the right approach for Mesothelioma,” say Professors Antonio Giordano and Luciano Mutti from the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University and the Italian Group for Mesothelioma (GIMe), referencing attempts to discover existing drug combinations that may yield an effective treatment. “Drugs with some activities in other tumours have utterly failed in MPM,” they say, “providing evidence we have to rethink what we have been doing so far and start over from a solid biological background.”

Researchers published their findings this month in Cancer Research, in the study titled A polysome-based microRNA screen identifies miR-24-3p as a novel pro-migratory miRNA in mesothelioma.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA molecules, which target genes and regulate gene expression and function. Abnormal expression of miRNA plays a relevant role in cancer biology and they are therefore a potential target for the development of innovative cures.

“We have identified a novel approach for identifying relevant miRNA in cancer biology,” Professor Biffo of the National Institute of Molecular Genetics in Milan explains. “By examining the polyribosomes where translation occurs, this ‘focused’ search has allowed us to identify that miR-24-3p (a particular miRna) expression is relevant to cancer progression and metastasis.”

Biffo, in collaboration with the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University, University of Siena, Columbus University, Leicester University, and supported by GIMe, has conducted a research program that has made significant steps forward in the fight against MPM.

“The first take home message for us is, ‘hunt where the ducks are,’” the authors say. “High levels of miR24-3p are detected only where they exert their biological effects (the polyribosomes), and increase tumour cell migration and Mesotheliomia progression via an enzyme family called Rho Kinase. These enzymes can be inhibited by specific drugs. Now it is time to translate our research into a pharmaceutical solution to develop this potential therapy,” the authors conclude.

Original Newswise Release