Objectives (research directions)
The Biomedical Applications Unit launched its activity in 1996 and for over a decade has been specialized in exploiting the basic research results disclosed by the IBRB for the development of biomedical products and services applicable to the field of in vitro diagnostics. It has recently extended its activities towards the research of stem cells and their applications in cancer therapeutics, in terms of a fruitful collaboration with the TAK-EIE stem cell bank, an NHRF spin-off company. More specifically, the current aim is to characterize and compare the properties of human stem cell populations derived from different tissues and to establish the optimal candidates for cell-based treatment in various disease models, including cancer.
Human stem cell research
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells with a capacity for clonal expansion and differentiation into multiple functional cell types in vitro and in vivo. The research interests of BAU in the field of stem cells focus on the investigation of the mechanisms governing human post-natal stem cell differentiation in response to stimuli from their microenvironment and their potential use for regenerative medicine purposes. A second area of interest is the characterization and investigation of the differences in the biology of mesenchymal stem cell populations derived from different anatomical sites and developmental stages. Furthermore, the research team of BAU is investigating the use of these populations for cancer cytotherapy using in vitro and animal models.
Other research interests of the Unit aim at identifying new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for cancer.