Italy on the first line against Multiple Sclerosis

Reblogged from Science on the Net

Italy is one of the most important country concerning the research on multiple sclerosis and the latest news about it come from the recent annual ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting in Boston. A collaborative group led by Massimiliano Calabrese from the University of Verona was amongst the 20 funded projects across the world from the first announcement of Progressive MS Alliance – an international alliance of associations on MS, formed to accelerate the development of new treatments for this disease – that has provided 30 million dollars. This project will be carried out through the collaboration between Roberta Magliozzi from Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) of Rome, Massimiliano Calabrese and Salvatore Monaco, from University of Verona, Richard Reynolds from the Imperial College London and Owain Howell of the University of Swansea (Wales).

“To understand the importance of our project,” says Roberta Magliozzi “we have to understand the mechanism by which the disease develops.” Multiple sclerosis usually comprises two phases: a first phase, relapsing-remitting, in which first inflammatory attacks appear and slowly compromise the nervous system. Attack after attack, the situation begin to crystallize, the neurological damage became more and more severe and the patient gets into the second progressive phase for which no efficient therapies are available at the moment. “Our project just fits in the gap between these two phases,” explains Magliozzi. “We want to identify early diagnostic biomarkers of the progressive phase of the disease in order to  block as soon as possible those attacks that lead to permanent neurological disability.”

Not certainly a simple kind of research, which requires an international collaboration between research centres of excellence. One of the main trait d’union is Magliozzi itself, who has spent her PhD at the Imperial College in London, analysing the relationship between meningeal inflammation and cortical grey matter lesions in progressive MS. Since she returned to Italy to join the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Istituto Superiore di Sanità, she continued to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in MS cortical pathology. Meanwhile, a team of neurologists from the University of Verona was doing some experiments on live patients. These studies using MRI have allowed researchers to understand that all patients that had showed lesions in the cortical grey matter also showed a more severe course of the disease. “When we realize that the results obtained in the laboratories of London, Rome and those taken in Verona were similar, we began to coordinate our studies,” says Magliozzi “and we decided to propose a collaboration. With this collaboration, the project was born and was then selected among the top 20 from MS Alliance to be funded.”

Read More

Pubblicità

Migration and public health in Europe

Reblogged from Science on the Net

Talking about public health in Europe today also means talking about migration. Nowadays, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 73 million migrants are estimated to be living in the European Region, accounting for nearly 8 percent of the total population, and 11 million immigrants have arrived in Europe in 2013. The point is that the word immigration has several meanings: it means people who choose to come and live in Europe for study and work; it means the difficult stories of those who have to leave their families to come to work as a domestic worker; last but not least, it means fleets of people crammed into small boats putting their lives in the hands of luck. This last phenomenon represents one of the biggest challenge for European health policy.

Although involving the whole of Europe, the problem of the ongoing management of migration flows does not affect all countries equally. Since the beginning of the crisis in North Africa in 2011, the Mediterranean countries have been experiencing a continuous state of emergency, due to the uncontrolled arrival of migrants fleeing from their countries, and the weakness of the infrastructure, often incapable to stem such a phenomenon. Although some places in the Mediterranean area are at the centre of the migratory routes, Italy was not the country with the largest number of immigrants in 2013.

In fact, according to WHO, France, Germany, the UK and Sweden have welcomed many more immigrants in 2013 than Italy. And even if we consider the totality of migration worldwide, Italy is not on the top of the rank.

Read more

Antimicrobial resistance throughout the world

Reblogged from Science on the Net

Through the years and the development of pharmacology, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public health threat of broad concern to countries. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) produced a global report on surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in collaboration with Member States. This report monitors the situation worldwide, showing that the percentage of antibiotic resistance to various diseases is growing year after year all over the world, especially in developed countries, and the resistance to common bacteria has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world. It indicates that many of the available treatment options for common infections in some settings are becoming ineffective.

According to those who prepared the report, “a post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”

Particularly, the report focuses on antibacterial resistance (ABR), which involves bacteria that causes many common infections for which treatment is becoming difficult. The main focus of this report is therefore on ABR for which knowledge, support and concerted action are inadequate. The report considers seven types of antibacterial resistance pathologies and their respective drug treatments:

– Escherichia Coli vs. the third-generation Cephalosporins and vs. Fluoroquinolones

– Kleibsiella Pneumoniae vs. the third-generation Cephalosporins and vs. Carbapenems

– Staphylococcus Aureus vs. Methiccilin

– Strptococcus Pneumoniae vs. Penicillin

– Non Typhoidal Salmonella vs. Fluoroquinolones

– Shigella Species vs. Fluoroquinolones

– Neisseria Gonorrhoeae vs. 3rd generation Cephalosporins

Read More

How to regenerate a broken heart

Reblogged from Science on the Net

The epidemics of heart failure (HF) represents a challenge for the National Health System: despite advances over the past 30 years, the prognosis for patients who are admitted to hospital with HF remains poor, with a 5 year mortality that is nearly 50%, worse than that for patients with breast or colon cancer. The incidence of HF is dramatically increasing at an unanticipated speed emphasizing the need for novel strategies aiming at the identification of the cause of this devastating disease.

In the last few years, the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Policlinico A. Gemelli, directed by Prof. Filippo Crea, contributed with original research programs in this field. Therefore, the Department has joined the European consortium that designed the clinical trial BAMI (The Effect of intracoronary Reinfusion of Bone Marrow-derived Mononuclear Cells on All Cause Mortality in Acute Myocardial Infarction ), and it will conduct the study as a coordinating center for Italy and European leading center for substudies.

Moreover, as the population continues to age, the demand for costly, age-associated health care will increase rapidly, since elderly individuals are at highest risk for HF. The European program “Horizon 2020: Health, demographic change and well-being” indicated the development of new therapeutic strategies that can bring a benefit in terms of survival and a reduction in the rate of hospitalization in patients with heart failure as an inescapable challenge. In recent years, therefore, regenerative medicine has been seen as a possible resource that can provide a convincing answer to this important socio-medical problem.

Read more