Logo Istituto Affiliato

Institute of Oncology Research (IOR),

affiliated to USI,

run by an


foundation with the same name


Molecular Oncology Lab

Research focus

The research conducted in the Molecular Oncology Lab focuses on the characterization of the mechanisms by which cancer arises and propagates to distant organs focusing on different areas of biology.

In particular, the team aims to identify how senescence drives tumour progression. The team has discovered that inhibition of the tumour suppressor gene PTEN can drive cellular senescence in cancer and that compounds that target senescence can stably arrest tumour growth. This approach has been named “pro-senescence” therapy for cancer. The team also discovered that senescent tumour cells communicate with tumour-infiltrating immune cells to promote prostate cancer and drive resistance to conventional therapies such as chemotherapies and androgen-deprivation therapies. These discoveries have inspired the design of several clinical trials currently ongoing in different countries.

Ongoing research projects in the Alimonti lab include the following:

  • The identification and development of novel pro-senescence and senolytic compounds for the treatment of cancer
  • Screening for the identification of novel regulators of the function and tumour recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells
  • The characterization of metabolic requirements of prostate cancer, including the role of gut microbiota
  • Generation of novel mouse models to study the metastatic progression of prostate cancer

In our studies, we use a combination of molecular biology from in vitro data, genetically engineered mouse models, next-generation sequencing, artificial intelligence and computational biology, system biology and microbiology. Our research is moved by the will to bring innovation and ease patient outcomes; for this reason, several bench-achieved findings have been rapidly translated into the clinic.

Research areas