Engineering somatic cells to cure inherited congenital disorders and neoplasia (M Fraccaro lecture 2021/22)

11 May 2022. 
Franco Locatelli,
Ospedale del Bambin Gesù, Rome

At 5.00 pm on the 11th of May 2022 Franco Locatelli will give the 2021/22 M Fraccaro lecture entitled Engineering somatic cells to cure inherited congenital disorders and neoplasia in the lecture theatre of Collegio Cairoli.  The poster os the lecture is available at this link.

F Locatelli is the director of the Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology of the Ospedale Bambin Gesù in Rome and since February 2019 he serves as Chair of Consiglio superiore di Sanità, the main advisory board if the Italian Ministry of Health on matters of Public Health. He also chaired more recently until the 30th of March 2022 the Covid-19 'Comitato Tecnico Scientifico' of the Italian Ministry of Health. More details about F Locatelli's academic career are given below.  The Marco Fraccaro is given each year by a distinguished medical scientist in order to commemorate the life and work of Marco Fraccaro, a pioneer in medical genetics and medical research and professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Pavia from 1962 to 2001. The lecture is organised jointly by Collegio Cairoli, the College which M Fraccaro directed from 1971 to 2002 and Collegio A Volta. Further details of M Fraccaro's life and work are also given below.


F Locatelli graduated in Medicine and Surgery ate the University of Pavia, where he also obtained the specialization in Pediatrics and Hematology. He is currently the Head of the Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Rome and Full Professor of Pediatrics at the Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy. He leads the largest programme of childhood allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in Italy and was recently appointed President of the Italian Higher Council of Health (Consiglio Superiore di Sanità), the technical scientific advisory body to the Ministry of Health. In 2005, he also received the Gold Medal for merits in public health by the President of the Italian Republic. F Locatelli is an expert in haematological and oncological malignancies of childhood. He has been the President of the Italian Association for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology from 
2004–2006, and served as chairman of the EWOG-MDS consortium from 2005 to 2011. Currently, he coordinates the national protocols for children with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia and relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). He has implemented in Italy the first-in-human academic studies on children with CD19+ lymphoid malignancies using 2nd-generation retroviral chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and on children with GD2+ neuroblastoma. Professor Locatelli is also involved in the development and validation of gene therapy approaches in patients with thalassaemia and sickle cell disease and he has extensive experience in running Phase I/II clinical trials. He is the author or co-author of 1.030 peer-reviewed articles published in international journals and he has an overall impact factor above 5000 and an H-index of 97 (Scopus source).

Marco Fraccaro
Marco Fraccaro (26 September 1926 - 2 April 2008) was a distinguished geneticist and Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pavia for over thirty years. Born in Pavia, he attended the local Liceo Classico Ugo Foscolo with and the Medical School of the University of Pavia where he graduated in 1950. After a few years at the local Institute of Pathological Anatomy he moved to Lionel Penrose in the Galton Laboratory at UCL in 1954 with a fellowship from the British Council and, a year later, to Jan Book’s laboratory in Uppsala where he stayed until 1958 during which time he met his future wife Inga. In 1960, he moved to the newly formed MRC Population Genetics Research Unit in Oxford under Alan Stevenson where he continued his work on cytogenetics that he had initiated in Uppsala. He returned to Pavia in 1962 where he started a highly successful and productive laboratory with funding from NATO and EURATOM and where he took up the Chair of Human Genetics, which he held until 2001.

Throughout his research Marco Fraccaro focussed primarily on sex chromosome abnormalities, especially the genetic abnormalities responsible for abnormal physical and sexual development, but he contributed to several other areas of Genetics such as the distribution in the population of specific types of congenital malformations and the effect of radiation on chromosomes of cells. Marco Fraccaro was deeply attached to Pavia and Oxford and there was hardly a conversation in which he failed to mention the life and history of these two cities. His love for Oxford was also expressed in a small book of quotations (Oxford for strangers of all sorts) which he published in 1997. From 1971 until 2002 he was Master of Collegio Cairoli, one of the University Colleges at Pavia. He run the College informally and effectively and made Cairoli a place of learning and debate for students and staff. He also made it into a meeting point for modern visual arts by organising a successful series of exhibitions of modern artists that will enrich the College for years to come. Marco Fraccaro has been one of the defining personalities of the University of Pavia in the second half of the 20th century and the lecture aims to recognise his interests in Science and the Arts and his intellectual legacy.

A CAR-T cells attacking a breast cancer cell. Courtesy of Marco Davila, Moffitt Cancer Centre.


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