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The Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in Oncohaematology 2023, in the amount of €5,000,

In memory of Armando Felsani

The Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in oncohematology stems from the idea of supporting young graduates of value who wish to pursue their career in research and encourage them to access the PhD program. The awarding of the prize is bound to the admission of the recipient to a PhD course in the field of neoplastic hematological diseases.

By participating in this award, Armando Felsani’s family and friends intend to remember his figure as a talented scientist and his generous humanity.

The Evaluation Committee includes:

  Lucio Luzzatto, President, University of Florence
Stefano Casola, IFOM, Milan Francesco Mannelli, University of Florence Cristina Mecucci, University of Perugia Tiziana Ottone, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Thanks to the Italian Society of Experimental Haematology for the promotion and dissemination of news regarding this award.

Useful information:

  • The competition awards a prize of € 5,000.00 for an experimental degree thesis on a project in the field of neoplastic haematological diseases, discussed in the period between June 2021 and July 2023.
  • The minimum requirement for participation in the award is a degree in the single-cycle Master’s Degree course (Laurea) in Medicine and Surgery, in Biotechnology, Biological Sciences, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, Chemistry, following the discussion of an experimental degree thesis on a project in the field of neoplastic haematological diseases with a minimum grade of 110/110.
  • To participate you must:
    • fill in the attached form;
    • write a short letter of intent (max 300 words) with reference to the PhD you intend to pursue;
    • send everything, together with a copy of an identification document and the degree thesis to Nanaonlus88@gmail.com no later than the deadline of August 20, 2023.
  • Condition for the awarding of the prize is that the recipient participates and is admitted to a PhD course in the neoplastic haematological diseases, whose admission certificate must be sent to NAnA – if not available yet by the August 20, 2023 deadline – no later than November 15, 2023.
  • The delivery of the prize will take place by December 15th 2023.

To contribute to the Francesca Martini Award in memory of Armando Felsani, you can make a bank transfer to the bank account of NAnA Onlus IBAN IT95F0538703211000002414714 with the reason: DONATION IN MEMORY OF ARMANDO FELSANI. THANK YOU.

 


Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in oncohematology 2023

Simona Procopio is the winner of the Francesca Martini Award with his experimental degree thesis on  “Musashi-2: a potential new therapeutic target for MLL-rearranged childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia“. 

The Award Evaluation Commission 2023 includes:
Lucio Luzzatto, President, University of Florence – Stefano Casola, IFOM Milan – Francesco Mannelli, University of Florence – Cristina Mecucci, University of Perugia – Tiziana Ottone, University of Rome Tor Vergata.


Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in oncohematology 2022

Stefano Di Giovenale is the winner of the Francesca Martini Award with his experimental degree thesis on  “The characterisation of the reguloma of paediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia reveals mechanisms of tumour evolution”. 

The Award Evaluation Commission 2022 includes:
Lucio Luzzatto, President, University of Florence – Stefano Casola, IFOM Milan – Francesco Mannelli, University of Florence – Cristina Mecucci, University of Perugia – Tiziana Ottone, University of Rome Tor Vergata.


Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in onco-hematology 2021

Giorgia Silvestrini is the winner of the Francesca Martini Award for an experimental degree thesis in onco-hematology 2021.

The Award Evaluation Commission 2021 includes:
Lucio Luzzatto, President, University of Florence – Francesco Mannelli, University of Florence – Cristina Mecucci, University of Perugia – Maria Teresa Voso, University of Rome Tor Vergata, President of SIES – Tiziana Ottone, University of Rome Tor Vergata.

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Francesca Martini Prize at SIBBM for best poster in cancer research is a result of a collaboration of NAnA ETS with the Italian Society for Biophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM). An International Jury of Scientists evaluate the best poster among those exhibited at the SIBBM Annual Workshop, which is entitled  “Frontiers in Molecular Biology”.

The winner of Francesca Martini Prize for best poster in cancer research at SIBBM 2023 is Zaibunnisa Zaibunnisa, University of Insubria, Varese, for her poster  entitled IGFL1 is a new ERG induced and secreted factor in prostate cancer with immune regulatory activity and clinical relevance. Click here for her c.v.

Winners of the past editions

2022 Francesca Orso, University of Turin for her poster  entitled “MiR-214 mediate stroma-tumor cell crosstalk during tumor progression“. Click here for her c.v.
2021 Erica Pranzini University of Florence for her poster “Mitochondrial serine metabolism mediates 5-fluorouracil resistance in colorectal cancer by fueling nucleotide biosynthesis and supporting DNA damage response“. More details here.

Because of Covid 19, in 2020 the prize fifth edition was postponed to 2021.

2019 Emanuele Monteleone University of Turin for his poster “STAT3-dependent pluripotency control via the stam-cells specific long non-coding RNA LincS1“. More details here.
2018  Valeria Rosato University of Sannio at Benevento for her poster “miR-27a-3p is a master regulator of metabolic reprogramming in colorectal cancer“. More details here.
2017  Davide Cassani  University College London for his poster “Cryo electron tomography of actomyosin cortex in isolated blebs“. More details here.
2016  Stefano Amente University of Naples Federico II for his poster “High-resolution genome profiles of 8-oxodeoxyguanine, γH2AX and NBS1 reveal their co-association at transcribed long genes“. More details here.

 

 

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Molecular characterisation of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

The article on Francesca’s cells appeared in Journal of Translational Medicine

The activities carried out by NAnA are divided into three lines of action:

  • Research on Francesca’s cells
  • Networking at international level
  • Awards for research activities in the field of oncology

These lines should not be considered as entirely separate: there are numerous interactions and synergies between them. This points to a common thread running through the different actions carried out by the Association to date. Behind NAnA’s research activities there is a clear question:

Why did Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) manifest so rapidly and aggressively in Francesca’s case, leading to her passing away within a few days of the first symptoms?

What is AML? Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is a disease characterised by abnormal growth of undifferentiated myeloid precursors, i.e. bone marrow stem cells that give rise to different types of blood cells including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

In the context of AML, myeloid precursors may undergo genetic abnormalities or mutations that cause abnormal growth and multiplication. These immature and abnormal myeloid cells accumulate in the bone marrow and can invade the bloodstream, causing the symptoms of AML.

At what age does it occur? The prevalence of AML varies with age. It is relatively rare in children, accounting for about 15-20% of all childhood leukaemia cases. Its incidence peaks in the first 2 years of life and then declines, with a second, lower peak during adolescence. Thereafter, the incidence of AML increases with age and is most frequently diagnosed in adults over 60 years of age.

The incidence of this disease is estimated to be about 1.54 cases per 100,000 people and about 110 cases per 100,000 among adults over 65.

What are its characteristics? AML is a heterogeneous disease: clinical manifestations can vary widely and important molecular differences have been found in genetic abnormalities and mutations associated with its onset. This heterogeneity, together with the high relapse rate, is thought to be responsible for the relatively low overall survival at five years, which remains around 70% for childhood AML.

What can be done? There is considerable and concrete interest in gaining an in-depth and detailed understanding of the mechanisms underlying the heterogeneity of AML: this is indispensable for the development of specific treatments aimed at groups of patients with common disease characteristics and could also pave the way for disease prevention actions.

However, it is important to consider the difficulties – of various kinds, including economic – arising from the rarity of AML, especially when the disease is categorized into various subtypes of juvenile manifestation. In particular, for cases of particularly aggressive AML similar to Francesca’s, described as sporadic, not even a reliable case history is available.

The study of Francesca’s tumour – and of other similar cases – thus represents a real challenge for modern medicine: a difficult one that requires non-specialized support, and is not just a manifestation of understandable parental desire for answers to one’s painful whys.

The story of the project ‘Le Cellule di Francesca‘: The project starts in September 2020 in the laboratories of the Regina Elena Institute in Rome with the funding by NAnA of a grant won by Dr. Gabriele Loiudice to work on the project ‘Identification and study of the impact of genetic susceptibility variants in adolescent acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)’. The research is the result of a collaboration between Dr. Maurizio Fanciulli’s group of the Department of Research, Diagnosis and Innovative Technologies of the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Scientific Director Prof. Gennaro Ciliberto, and the Laboratory of Advanced Oncohaematological Diagnostics of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, directed by Prof. Maria Teresa Voso.

The results of the work carried out were published in July 2022 in the Journal of Translational Medicine, here is the link to the article. To Support the project Francesca’s Cells go to this link💝

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The event La Nave di NAnA aims to remember Francesca Martini on the anniversary of her death and to raise funds for research on leukemia. It takes place in Gaeta, at Serapo beach which this year celebrates 70 years of activity. The sixth edition has been on 10th of July and there was a Competition for Little Photojournalists who record the Live Painting of the artists Joele D’Angelo and Alessandra Muto and Emanuela Ambrosone doing a 13m by 2m high mural.

Watch the video of the day

La Nave di Nana