Laboratory of Genomics and Transcriptomics
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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadliest of adult primary brain tumors. In spite of major advances in neurosurgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, survival rates and quality of life of GBM patients have scarcely improved in the last years. To increase the survival of patients with malignant brain tumors, it is urgent to find innovative approaches for treatment. Research in this field is entering a particularly fascinating phase where new understandings to the cell biology, molecular biology, and electrophysiology are opening up whole new fields of investigation. Elena Tantillo, PhD student of Pisa Science Foundation, is studying gliomas from different points of view to better understand their development and the interactions with resident brain cells.
Glioma cells are known to kill peritumoral neurons by excitotoxicity. This neuronal loss may facilitate glioma invasion and underlie cognitive impairments in patients. On the other hand, it has been shown that levels of activity in peritumoral areas can control glioma cell proliferation. These evidences establish a bidirectional connection between glioma and surrounding brain tissue. Glioma-induced changes in peritumoral areas also frequently include the emergence of epileptic seizures, which substantially contribute to neurological morbidity. Currently, there is little information available on electrographic changes during glioma growth and on the mechanisms leading to glioma-induced epileptogenesis and no informations about molecular analysis.
During her PhD, Elena Tantillo is working to investigate the glioma microenvironment in human and in mouse focusing on the reciprocal effect between tumor mass and neurons through electrophysiological and molecular analysis. This can hopefully lead to find a correlation between mouse model and human patients.
She received her Master’s degree in Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Pisa, Italy.
Elena Tantillo is a student of the PhD program in Neuroscience of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and spends most of her research time at the FPS, under the supervision of Chiara Mazzanti.