The TUMour Immunology (TUMI) Unit led by Dr. Anna Kabanova was established in 2019 owing to the support of Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC). TUMI team is studying one of the most frequent tumours of B lymphocytes, the B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) which still remains an incurable disease. The team focuses on mechanisms regulating CLL indolence and aims at developing new therapies against CLL, either targetting tumour metabolism or harnessing T cell-based mechanisms of anti-tumour defense.

Targetting B cell metabolism in CLL
Initially supported by AIRC and now by the consortium HEAL ITALIA, this project aims at dissecting metabolic vulnerabilities of CLL cells. The team combines state-of-the-art imaging, -omics and gene editing approaches in vitro and in vivo to identify genes and signatures that regulate CLL cell proliferation and fitness. Results of this study may allow a better understanding of the biology of this disease and also may form a rationale for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat aggressive CLL, since about 30-40% of treated CLL tend to relapse.

Synthetic cells to fight B cell tumours
Owing to experience in studying how T cells kill tumour B cells, the team is taking part in the pan-EU consortium project “Bottom-up manufacturing of artificial T cells” ArTCell supported by the European Innovation Council. ArTcell aims to provide a scalable, on-demand artificial T cell substitute of traditional CAR T cell therapy. The TUMI collaborates with a multi-disciplinary team of bioengineers and T/B cell biologists from the University of Leuven in Belgium, University of Groningen in Netherlands and and Mossakowski Medical research Institute in Warsaw, Poland.

B cells as weapons against antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Together with Monoclonal Antibody Discovery Lab, the team is contributing with her expertise in characterization of anti-pathogen B cell responses to develop monoclonal antibodies as treatments against multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Research Group:

Tumour Immunology Unit Principal Investigator: Anna Kabanova

Rosita del Prete,  

Roberta Drago,  

Federica Nardi,  

Gaia Bartolini,  

Virginia Gazziero,  

Vjola Tusha

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In recent years, the increasing commitment of TLS to in-house research has produced a significant growth of the scientific contribution of the foundation’s researchers