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LifeTime for COVID: HT together with Milan University (UniMi), IEO and Sacco Hospital

Tue, May 5 2020|

Our laboratories are currently under construction, but Human Technopole plays its part in tackling the current global healthcare crisis. Human Technopole scientists have already set up projects and collaborations with the main research institutes in Italy and abroad to contribute to the fight against COVID 19.

Giuseppe Testa, Head of the Research Centre for Neurogenomics, as well as professor of Molecular Biology at University of Milan and Director of the High Definition Disease Modelling Lab at the European Institute of Oncology, is coordinating the efforts of Lifetime for COVID19 action set in place to study the disease and respond to the pandemic challenge over the next two years.

The Italy-based branch of this collaborative initiative spearheaded by HT, UniMi, IEO and the Sacco Hospital part of ASST Fatebenefratelli will focus on an extensive analysis of different types of samples and data from COVID 19 affected patients.

Human Technopole’s contribution to the project will entail making available dedicated machines, personnel, and expertise to support single cell multi-omics to understand what goes awry in diseased tissues on a cell-by-cell basis and across multiple levels of cell function. These studies could lead to important breakthroughs in defining predictive markers of disease course and drug response in individual patients, potentially leading to the repurposing of existing drugs as effective therapies against COVID 19.

The aim is to reconnect the molecular and clinical data,” says prof. Testa, “This means using the best of high tech to understand how the infection evolves in patients which differ in age, health and reactiveness. The coronavirus has shown to be an “evil” virus, with multiple personalities. We cannot predict how the disease will evolve and when conditions might, rapidly, worsen. The variability is extreme and we do not have a prognostic rationality, let alone a therapy”.  

Such a community-wide international effort is aimed at helping clinicians tackle the current crisis, but also at facing the sustained challenge that COVID 19 will likely continue to pose for research and healthcare over the next months. Italy, and particularly the Lombardy region, was the first European country in which the contagion had exponential curves and is therefore able to make a significant contribution to this initiative.

Human Technopole’s efforts will allow to gain a better understanding of the disease and how it responds to existing available drugs in an effort to find new therapies and assist our communities in facing this lasting challenge.

LifeTime is the pan-European research initiative that aims to revolutionise healthcare by tracking and understanding human diseases at single cell resolution to transform patients’ care and the sustainability of healthcare systems. The LifeTime consortium gathers over 120 leading scientists from over 90 European research institutes. The University of Milan is the Italian partner of the consortium and the European Institute of Oncology is an associate partner. Human Technopole is in the process of becoming an associate partner.

 

Read prof. Testa's interview (in Italian) on LaStampa.it