Dr. Maurizio D'Incalci to receive Pezcoller-Prodi Award in Scientific Career

Dr. Maurizio D'Incalci, MD, Ph.D., will receive an award in recognition of his scientific career at the new Special Conference on Anticancer Drug Action and Drug Resistance: from Cancer Biology to the Clinic organized by the European Association of Cancer Research (EACR), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the Italian Cancer Society (SIC) and that will be held in Florence, Italy, June 20-23. The prominent scientist will received the first Pezcoller-Prodi Award in Scientific Career in recognition of his work in translational cancer research and his contribution to the advancement of new avenues in therapeutic oncology. The Award lecture will focus on the importance of translational research for the successful development of innovative drugs, using trabectedin as an example of a new class of drugs that target both cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment.

D'Incalci is the Head of the Department of Oncology at the IRCCS Institute for Pharmacological Research 'Mario Negri' in Florence, Italy. His lecture on "From seabed to the bedside: lessons learnt from the marine-derived anticancer drug trabectedin." will take place on Tuesday, June 23, 10:30 a.m., in the Auditorium at the Firenze Fiera.

"This new forum in cancer is an exciting event and we are proud to recognize Dr. D'Incalci scientific career and long-term achievements in adding to translating cancer biology into clinical approaches." said Riccardo Dolcetti, MD, past President of the SIC and Conference co-Chair.

The contribution of Dr. D'Incalci to the successful story of trabectedin in drug development started in Spain upon an encounter with the team that identified the chemical structure of trabectedin and José María Fdez. Sousa-Faro, the Chairman of an emerging biotech company called Pharmamar whose mission was to transform treatment oncology by providing innovative anticancer drugs of marine origin. Identified from an extract of a small marine macroorganism called Ectenascidia turbinata or sea squirt found in the Caribbean Sea, the compound has been developed into an anticancer drug approved in Europe and many other countries for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancer. The potent antitumor activity and the novel mechanism of action of trabectedin arouse the interest of investigators at Mario Negri and Dr. D'Incalci, who continue perusing the preclinical findings, thus adding to the understanding of how this drug was halting tumor growth. This close global collaboration between the pharmaceutical company PharmaMar and academic researchers is another example of how this approach can help close the "valley of death" in translational medicine.

"It is an honor to receive this Award from the international cancer community and to be part of this new conference that deepens the interest of investigators into such an important aspect of research as it is the translation of discoveries into patient alternatives. The clinical experience I gathered during my career has been crucial to prioritize the potential application in the clinic when developing research projects." Said Dr. D'Incalci. "I must say I would have never achieved many of the goals that as a researcher one aims to accomplish without the mentorship I received in the early days of my career and the support of my colleagues and laboratory team members throughout this long and exciting adventure. Contributing to bringing a novel compound such as trabectedin from the seabed to the bedside and understanding how it works and opens new avenues for "intelligent" combinations is not part of a career anymore but one more piece of my life."




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