Prof. Dr. Neri Dario

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract
The main focus of our work is the development of targeted anti-cancer therapy. Cancer chemotherapy relies on the expectation that anti-cancer drugs will preferentially kill rapidly dividing tumor cells, rather than normal cells. Since a large portion of the tumor cells has to be killed in order to obtain and maintain a complete remission, large doses of drugs are typically used, with significant toxicity towards proliferating non-malignant cells. Indeed, the majority of pharmacological approaches for the treatment of solid tumors suffers from poor selectivity, thus limiting dose escalation (i.e., the doses of drug which are required to kill tumor cells cause unacceptable toxicities to normal tissues).
A promising avenue towards the development of more selective, better anti-cancer drugs consists in the targeted delivery of cytokines to the tumor environment by means of binding molecules (e.g., human antibodies) specific for tumor-associated markers. In our lab, we mainly work on the:

  • discovery of novel tumor-associated antigens which are abundant and accessible
  • isolation of high-affinity ligands to tumor-associated antigens (antibodies and small organic molecules)
  • the development of novel pharmaceuticals, based on specific ligands (antibodies or small organic molecules) and capable of a selective localization at the tumor site, for the imaging and therapy of aggressive solid tumors.
  • the in vitro and in vivo testing of the most promising biopharmaceuticals developed in our group.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords
Vascular tumor targeting, therapeutic antibodies, angiogenesis, combinatorial chemical libraries, chemical proteomics

Special Techniques and Equipment
All standard methods of chemistry, biochemistry, cell- and molecular biology are being used in these studies. The technology of proteomics (2D-SDS-PAGE, LC/MS/MS), antibody phage technology and combinatorial chemistry are also frequently utilized.

Education and Training
The institute hosts regular seminars with speakers from the whole world. We also hold regular journal clubs, data clubs and group meetings. We welcome Diploma Students, and have frequent opportunities for PhD students and postdocs. We offer a 1-week experimental course on Antibody Phage Technology.