News and events from the Pediatric Clinical Research Center Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi.

EVENT 2017 - 2018




The Health League in Atlantis: immersed in science and entertainment


The Health League superheroes are back in a new adventure of fun and science. This year our braves will plunge into the depths of the aquatic abyss, the kingdom of a micromondo made of swarming organisms of all sorts, including some pathogens that can damage tissues. Will Stem girl and her companions be able to regenerate them? Let's find out together!


Also for this 2018 will come the event Meet Me Tonight 2018 the Night of Researchers, which is celebrated throughout Europe to bring the themes and protagonists of research and innovation closer to the general public.

The event, promoted by the University of Milan, the University of Milan-Bicocca, the Milan Polytechnic, the National Museum of Science and Technology and the City of Milan, has been held for years in the two now classic locations of the Indro Montanelli Gardens of street Palestro and the Museum.

Take part in the Meet Me Tonight 2018 event, visit the official website and discover the face to face with the research.










This year too the Meet Me Tonight 2018 ended with a large turnout of people, our stand was the focus of attention from parents and children motivated by a strong interest in the research world.


Here are some photos of the event.


































Prof. Paolo Fiorina and Dr. Francesca D''Addio tell us about the new disease the HyperTh17, discovered through their studies and the publication of the new P2X7R and Tcells Fate project.


HyperTh17, is a disease that induces the condition of fragility of the immune system in subjects carrying a purinergic receptor mutation 7.


The discovery was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is the result of collaboration with the Boston Children's Hospital and the Harvard Medical School.


The researchers have shown for the first time the role of this receptor in the control of T lymphocytes during the activation of the immune system under normal conditions, discovering how its mutation, which affects about 2% of the population, is associated with an alteration of its function that leads to a hitherto unknown immunological disease.

The mutation of the P2X7R receptor blocks the process that regulates the body's immune response to external agents, determines the development of harmful T lymphocytes leading to a state of fragility of the immune system that can have important consequences especially for patients already at risk as the transplanted , in which it may lead to organ rejection, or with diseases of immunological pathogenesis, such as in diabetes.

The P2X7R mutation had been described but its role had never been clarified so far.


As stated by Prof. Paolo Fiorina "This mutation is present in 2% of the general population and understanding its importance from the clinical point of view, assumes a relevance for our very important health" says Professor Paolo Fiorina, Associate Professor of Endocrinology University of Milan and Director of the International Research Center on Diabetes Type 1 at the Pediatric Research Center Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi "We have found that the subjects carrying the P2X7R mutation are predisposed to develop an altered immune response thanks to the possibility that we had to analyze an international cohort that includes more than 600 heart transplant patients enrolled between the United States and Italy ".


Analyzing in vitro the immunological characteristics of the T cells of the patients carrying the mutation, the researchers have verified a variation of the immune response towards the development of harmful T lymphocytes that in the transplanted patients is associated with the onset of numerous immunological events such as acute and chronic rejection in the long term they lead to the loss of the transplanted organ.


Dr. Francesca D''Addio asserts that understanding the mutation of the mutated P2X7R receptor has allowed us to identify a group of individuals who could be affected by the HyperTh17 syndrome, "says Dr. D'Addio, a researcher at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and "L. Sacco" Clinics of the Milan State University and the Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi Pediatric Research Center of the University of Milan.


Further studies will be needed to determine the relevance of P2X7 receptor mutation in diabetic and non-transplanted subjects to understand the association with the development of immunological events.


"This is another success of the Pediatric Research Center-Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi which is added to those already recently presented" comments Professor Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti, director of the Center. "This Center born of so little but that is doing so much in terms of research must become a point of reference for scientific research in Italy, a pole at the cutting edge for the discovery and diagnosis of new diseases". Professor Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti continues. "Without the collaboration between the University of Milan and the Clinical Departments of the Luigi Sacco Hospital Pole, this would have been difficult, impossible without the fundamental support of the Fondazione Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi that allowed the construction of this Center and that motivates us every day to work to do more in this field ".


To find out more, visit the page of Prof. Paolo Fiorina and discover the publications of his team.





At the resumption of activities, after the new year’s break, the Ministry of Instruction University and Research (MIUR) announced the list of 180 national Departments of Excellence that a Commission of external experts had selected among all the Italian Universities on the basis of merit, activity and innovation criteria, and on the basis of development proposals that had been presented by Italian Departments (1,2).

The recognition of excellence entails a significant funding for the selected Department for the next five years, to support educational and personnel developments, to foster new branches of research and for promoting development of the innovative infrastructures. Within this national contest, the Department of Biosciences of the University of Milan ranked third, with a score of 97/100, among the thirteen Departments of the CUN Area 05 Biological Sciences.

The five-year development program presented by the Department of Biosciences foresees the evolution of biological research and teaching towards a "quantitative" approach, addressing the molecular bases of cell functioning.

Particular fields of development are the various "omics" techniques, applied to different sectors of interest in the Department (e.g. human-, microbiological-, plant-, ... -sciences), but also, and with a highly innovative approach, imaging techniques and advanced microscopy (confocal, super-resolution, two photons, ...) applied to the cell and sub-cellular structures.

In this context, a fundamental role will be played by the Talos Arctica FEG 200 kV cryo-electron microscope, installed (July 2017) at the Department as a Laboratory of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi, in co-participation with the University of Milan. In fact, the research activities centered on single particle cryo-electron microscopy, supported by this instrument, will allow the imaging platform to extend current analyses of subcellular complexes to quasi-atomic resolution.

Such important synergy will allow us to fill the scientific research horizon, which will extend from (protein and nucleic acids) molecules, and from the biochemical-genetic-cellular process, to cells, organs and organisms involved; all based on the genuinely quantitative approach characteristic of biological research in the 21st century.

The availability and performance of the Talos Arctica cryo-electron microscope proved a key factor in the assembly of the program presented to MIUR. The Cryo-Electron Microscopy Lab is an aggregation center for collaborative projects (3), a reference point in the Department of Excellence project, and represents a research potential, so far unique in Italy, for the design of new drugs through rational approaches based on the three-dimensional structure of receptor proteins.

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The Milan Diabetes event, a real gig in the biomedical research community, will take place on 24th and 25th November 2017.

The conference will take place at the headquarters of the University of Milan and will involve leading experts of the diabetological sector, which will address the key issues related to the disease.

During the first day, lectures on pharmacological aspects and complications will be held, while on the second congress day new approaches to treatment and obesity issues will be discussed.

The Scientific Committee will be made up of internationally renowned experts:

- Prof. Paolo Fiorina (Immunology of Diabetes)

- Prof. Franco Folli (Diabetes Pharmacology)

- Prof. Livio Luzi (Complications of Diabetes)

- Prof. Antonio E. Pontiroli (Medical and Surgical Therapy)




HSPCs revert type 1 diabetes (T1D)

In this paper, "PD-L1 genetic overexpression and pharmacological restoration in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells autoimmune diabetes cures" published in the journal Science Translational Medicine magazine (IF 16), Ben Nasr Moufida and colleagues demontsrtaed a clear defect in the expression level of the PD-L1 molecule in HSPCs (hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells) in NOD mice and in individuals with T1D.

The authors have shown that treating the PD-L1 defect, genetically or by a cocktail of small molecules, abrogates autoimmune response and revert T1D in animals. This new therapy could be a potential cure for T1D in humans.

The study

Until now, clinical trials trying to cure type 1 diabetes (T1D) did not produce the expected results, especially because of lack of targeted therapy. Recently, it has been highlighted how autologous HSPCs transplantation may offer hope as a cure for T1D.

In our study, we have shown that in the transcriptional profile of the NOD mouse HSPCs, the mouse model used to study T1D, there was a defect in the PD-L1 molecule.

By treating this defect genetically or by a cocktail of small molecules, to recover the PD-L1 function in the animals’ HSPCs, we have in vitro obtained an inhibition of autoimmune response and in vivo a reversal of T1D in NOD hyperglycemic mice. We confirmed PD-L1 defective expression also in HSPCs of patients with T1D and the inhibition of autoimmune response using a pharmacological modulation of HSPCs to restore PD-L1 expression level.

This study then opens new scenarios for the therapy of T1D by providing a specific target to develop a  novel treatment strategy.



Since June 30th 2016, when the Pediatric Clinical Research Center Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi was inaugurated, enormous efforts have been employed in the implementation of such a great undertaking. Over the past 12 months, the Center has set up its staff through the recruitment of two Researchers, eight Post-Doctoral fellows, one Research Assistant and the Administrative staff, all of them fully committed to the activities of the Research Center. The fully operational lab instrumentation of the Center allows now to perform the most advanced tools and methods in the field of the Biomedical Research. Among them, a Transmission Electron Cryo-Microscope (the only one available in Italy), a state-of-the-art confocal microscope, a 12-colors flow cytometer, two Next Generation Sequencers for transcriptome and whole genome studies, an ELISPOT reader and a Luminex analyzer for the most advanced functional immunologic analysis. The Research groups involved in the Center have promptly engaged in the activities of their respective field of study, while at the same time jointly designing, developing and performing new research projects. Their commitment has already reaped rewards by yielding three papers published in internationally renowned scientific journals. Beside the munificent donation provided by the Fondazione Invernizzi, whereby it has come into being, the Clinical Research Center has already started to devote major efforts in finding additional financial resources that will allow to pursue its activities by applying to calls from public and private – both National and International – prestigious funding Institutions. Lastly, in addition to tasks closely related to the scientific side, the Pediatric Clinical Research Center Invernizzi is committed to the dissemination of its activities and achievements during meetings with the audience, as recently happened in connection with the Human Factory 2017 event. PHOTO OF THE EVENT

See the interview to the interview of University La Statale Prof. Gianluca Vago Ufficio Stampa Italpress "Ok Pediatric Clinical Research Center Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi.




Thanks to the economic support of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Italy (Union of Methodist

and Waldensian Churches) for the year 2017 and Spazio Vita Niguarda – a patient association,  the Pharmacology Group of the “Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi” Pediatric Research Center is engaged in supporting people affected by paraplegia or tetraplegia secondary to traumatic spinal cord injury.

The main aim of the project is to provide the most recent and accurate information on research progress in the field of spinal cord injuries.

The 6th October conference "Spinal cord injury research: treatments and care proposals in the current scientific landscape" is dedicated to the presentation of the research state of the art at national level on spinal cord injury and takes into account also pre-clinical, clinical, and rehabilitative research projects.

Thanks to this multidisciplinary approach, the event represents an important professional up to date for the various professionals involved in healthcare and information with people affected by spinal cord injury, their families and those concerned with the several issues related to this serious condition.



Superhero scientists to defend Human City The scientist's life is usually an intricate journey towards unexplored and unknown places. It's the willingness to satisfy one's curiosity that keeps the morale high during the journey. The primary need? To communicate. That's the main reason for the annual "date" with science in Milan called "MeetMe Tonight", which is part of a broader European event intended to bring the themes and protagonists of scientific research closer to the public: the "Notte dei Ricercatori" (Researcher's Night). During this big international celebration, scheduled for 29th and 30th of September, the Centre for Pediatric Research Invernizzi will open the doors to Human City, the big metropolis of the human body where peace and order are maintained through the actions of the Health League and its superheroes. Are you ready to live this experience with us? We are waiting for you on September 29th, from 14.00 to 22.00, and on September 30th, from 11.00 to 21.00. Where? At the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens in Milan. PHOTO OF THE EVENT




On June 18, 2017, the “Romeo e Enrica Invernizzi” Paediatric Research Centre organized the first “Research Mashup” at wing 62 of L. Sacco Hospital.

This was the first of a series of innovative events that aim to be different from the classical lectures and seminars. Every times, Professor Fiorina’s lab will invite a different research group of the hospital to discuss about common interest topics. There will be a short time for oral presentations, followed by a longer session of open discussion and brain storming to promote new collaborations among the labs.

The first event, OB/GYN vs. ENDO, involved the research groups of Professor Fiorina and Professor Cetin.

It was a great success that perfectly hit the meaning of this new project.

Dr. Emma Assi, one of the speakers of the event, said “It was an informal meeting, a workshop where ideas were totally free to flow.

The countinous back and forth exchange between speakers and audience gave many new ideas to my research project and strengthened the collaboration with Professor Cetin lab.

It was an extremely concrete and practical meeting greatly appreciated by all the researchers”.

The Research Centre was very pleased with the success of this event and invites all the labs to join the future “Research Mashup” and to contact us if interested in presenting their projects.






On Friday, September 30, the New Pediatric Clinical Research Center "Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi" was inaugurated at the Aula Magna of the Polo Universitario at Hospital "L. Sacco".


Made with the generous contribution of the Fondazione Invernizzi and thanks to the collaboration between the University of Milan, the “L. Sacco” Hospital and the Children's Hospital "V. Buzzi", the new structure will be dealing with research on rare diseases - such as type 1 diabetes mellitus - and on emerging and multi-resistant pathogen infections in the pediatric population.


The new Center, the first of its kind in Lombardia, will allow Milan to reach levels of absolute international excellence for pediatric care as well.


Anselmo Stucchi (President of the Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi Foundation), Gianluca Vago (Dean of the University of Milan), Alessandro Visconti (General Director of the ASST FBF Sacco), Roberto Maroni (Presidente of Regione Lombardia), Walter Ricciardi (President of the Istituto Superiore di Sanitàe) and Gianvincenzo Zuccotti (Scientific Coordinator of Pediatric Clinical Research Center "Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi") took part to this extraordinary event.











Video of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center "Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi"

Video of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center "Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi from Prof. Anselmo Stucchi

For photos and videos of the event thank T.F.G Videoproduzioni


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