Dr. Arianna Calcinotto is Group Leader of the Cancer Immunotherapy group at IOR. She received her PhD in Molecular Medicine with honors from Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan in 2015. She completed her PhD and PostDoc training before at San Raffaele Institute in Milan, one of the top Institutes in Italy, then in the lab of Prof. Bergsagel at Mayo Clinic (Arizona, USA) and more recently at IOR in Ticino. She has published several original papers in major scientific journals (Nature, Nature Communications and Nature Medicine). In particular, she has studied cancer cell-immune cell interactions in the tumor microenvironment during different phases of cancer development and progression in both solid tumors and hematological malignancies developing novel immunotherapies for cancer. Her major scientific contributions have been the identification of an unexpected link between the presence of specific bugs in the gut microbiota and a faster progression from smoldering multiple myeloma to frank multiple myeloma and the identification of the role played by IL23 producing myeloid cells promoting therapy-resistance in castration resistance prostate cancer patients. Since July 2019, she opened her independent group at IOR in Cancer Immunotherapy.
The research group focuses on cancer immunotherapy with a major goal of approaching this problem with novel concepts. More specifically: we propose to block the pathogenic pro-tumoral activity driven by infiltratingimmune cells within the tumor microenvironment, instead of re-activating the beneficial anti-tumor immune response as has been pioneered by immune-checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T cells therapies. While exciting clinical results have been achieved with these approaches, to date they have not been effective in a broad range of solid cancers especially for breast cancer. The major current interest of the lab is identifying the mechanisms underlying the contribution of the innate immune cells in regulating later stages of tumor progression and how they favor therapy resistance in breast cancer. With these goals, the group is synergizing its cancer immunology expertise with IOSI (Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana), which has a long tradition of clinical oncology in breast cancer, with the final aim to apply these discoveries to the clinic and develop novel therapeutic options and illuminate our understanding of the spectrum of interactions in the tumor microenvironment.