The San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET)

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Director: Luigi Naldini

The San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET), directed by Luigi Naldini, is a joint-venture between the San Raffaele Scientific Institute and the Telethon Foundation. The mission of the Institute is to perform innovative research on gene transfer and cell transplantation and translate its results into successful clinical application of gene and cell therapy for genetic diseases.

The research activities of the Institute span from basic to early phase clinical studies aiming to:

i) identify the genetic bases and the pathophysiological processes of the inherited diseases under study, which include primary immunodeficiencies, blood diseases, inherited leukodystrophies and other lysosomal storage diseases;

ii) develop new gene transfer and editing technologies for more efficient and safe genetic correction of diseases using ex vivo and in vivo strategies;

iii) characterize the biological properties of hematopoietic and neural stem cells and establish procedures for their ex vivo manipulation and transplantation;

iv) investigate cell types mediating innate and adaptive immunity and modulate immune response to gene and cell products to improve efficacy and stability of the therapy;

v) test the new therapeutic strategies in preclinical disease models instrumental to design clinical trials;

vi) exploit the technologies and models developed above to design new gene therapy strategies for cancer.

All these goals are fulfilled within the TIGET Experimental Research Units;

vii) assess the efficacy and safety of the novel therapeutic strategies in patients within early phase clinical trials. This clinical activity is conducted within the TIGET Clinical Research Unit (CRU; Clinical Research Coordinator: Alessandro Aiuti), which is devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with primary immunodeficiencies, hematologic and metabolic diseases, and comprises the TIGET Clinical Trial Office (TCTO). The TIGET Clinical Research Unit works in close collaboration with the Pediatric Immuno-Hematology Unit (directed by Alessandro Aiuti) and the Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit (directed by Fabio Ciceri) of the San Raffaele Hospital.
Moreover, TIGET includes the Vector Integration Core, aimed at monitoring and profiling vector integration genome-wide in preclinical and clinical studies, and a GLP test facility, aimed at conducting preclinical studies of gene and cell therapy according to GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) guidelines.
The gene and cell therapy products used in the current clinical trials are produced in the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) facility of MolMed S.p.A.

Struttura del TIGET

Overall, this research environment provides world-recognized leading scientific expertise in gene transfer and editing technologies, genetic modification of stem cells, preclinical models of stem cells transplantation, as well as in the translational, regulatory and clinical issues associated with testing novel cell and gene therapies for immune, hematological and lysosomal storage diseases.

 

TIGET Structure

The Institute is directed by Luigi Naldini since 2008. The Director is supported by a Clinical Research Coordinator (Alessandro Aiuti), 5 Heads of Unit, 4 Group Leaders, 5 Project Leaders, and a total of 150 people including fellows, PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and administrative staff, comprising a planning and cost controller, a scientific officer, a regulatory affairs manager, alliance managers and a secretariat.

Applications now open for the International PhD Course in Molecular Medicine a.y. 2015-2016 at UniSR.

Have a look at TIGET laboratories proposing PhD projects in the Basic and Applied Immunology and Oncology Curriculum, Cellular and Molecular Physiopathology Curriculum, Neuroscience and Experimental Neurology Curriculum and as TIGET- dedicated research fellowships.

The PhD students enrolled in one of the TIGET laboratories will attend, in addition to the educational program of the International PhD Course in Molecular Medicine, also the formative activities organized by TIGET, such as weekly seminars concerning the research activities performed by the various TIGET groups, as well as courses on themes of general interest (e.g. statistics, responsible conduct of research and data integrity, bioethics, principles of GLP – Good Laboratory Practice, basic normative and regulatory requirements of clinical trials). In addition, it is envisioned that PhD students will take advantage of the rich calendar of lectures held by distinguished researchers invited at TIGET, as well as at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute. They will also participate in the TIGET retreat, a moment in which the members of the Institute gather in an external location to enhance discussion and interactions among the various TIGET research groups. Furthermore, PhD students will be given the opportunity to attend at least one international conference per year, with the aim to grant them occasions to present their data and be exposed to the debate in the scientific community of interest.

Further enriching the educational activities offered to PhD students, a Program in Gene and Cell Therapy supported by the Telethon Foundation has been activated starting from the coming a.y. 2015-2016.

 

Experimental research and clinical research groups