What are the molecular and genetic aspects involved in the malignant transformation of the leukemic cells?
Could they be used as target for the development of new therapies?

Normal hematopoietic cell biology is strictly driven by complex interactions with microenvironment, involving signaling molecules that finely tune their activation, survival, proliferation and differentiation. The knowledge on anomalous expression or activity of signaling molecules in the leukemic counterparts still requires transformation, in order to better comprehend malignant hematopoietic cell conversion, invasiveness, migration, trafficking and homing, and to identify new targets for innovative therapies. Our Unit faces these issues studying two different kinds of chronic leukemia: the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), characterized by leukemic B cells, and the Lymphoproliferative Disorders of Large Granular Lymphocytes (LGL Leukemias), elicited by malignant T and NK lymphocytes.

INVESTIGATION OF REGULATORY MECHANISMS INVOLVED IN THE PATHOGENESIS OF CHRONIC LEUKEMIAS TO DEFINE NEW TARGETS FOR THERAPY
Normal hematopoietic cell biology is continuously and strictly driven by multifaceted interactions with microenvironment, involving signaling molecules that finely tune their activation, survival, proliferation and differentiation. Although many studies are currently available on normal hematopoietic cell physiology, the knowledge on anomalous expression or activity of signaling molecules in the malignant counterparts still requires further investigation. The research efforts undertaken in our Unit are aimed to dissect molecular pathways involved in: i) mechanisms accounting for growth and survival of malignant hematopoietic cells and their interactions with the microenvironment; ii) normal and malignant hematopoietic cell invasiveness, migration, trafficking and homing; iii) in vitro responsiveness to both traditional and innovative drugs to suggest new therapeutic strategies. All these points are developed in two different kinds of chronic leukemia:

1. B-cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
2. Lymphoproliferative Disorders of Large Granular Lymphocytes (LGL Leukemias)

GIANPIETRO SEMENZATO

  • Chairman, Hematological Network of the Veneto Region (REV), Italy (since 2016)
  • Full Professor, University of Padua Medical School, Padova, Italy (since 2000)
  • Chief, Hematology and Clinical Immunology Section, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Italy (since 2000)
  • Associate Professor, University of Padua Medical School, Padova, Italy (1990–2000)
  • Assistant Professor, University of Padua Medical School, Padova, Italy (1981–1990)
  • MD; University of Padua Medical School, Padova, Italy (1974)

Selected Awards

  • 1990 – A. Minich Award from the Venice Academy of Sciences for studies on the pathogenesis of leukemias.
  • 1989 – Cournand Honorary Lecturer for original studies on cellular immunology in interstitial lung diseases.
  • 1974 – Award for the best doctoral thesis of the year.