• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

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Istitute of Molecular Biology and Pathology - National Research Council
Department of Biochemical Sciences - A. Rossi Fanelli
Sapienza University of Rome - Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5 00185 Roma (RM)
I focused my research in the field of Nanomedicine, taking advantage of the knowledge and understanding of the physical and chemical properties of protein cage architectures acquired working on proteins belonging to the ferritin family. Human Ferritin (HFt) is a multimeric protein consisting of 24 identical subunits that self-assemble into a symmetric shell-like sphere, with external and internal diameters of 12 and 8 nm, respectively.
HFt has many advantages: 1) is a physiological non-toxic protein able to pass the body barriers; 2) can efficiently entrap more drug molecules inside its cavity (30-200 mol depending from the drug) in comparison to albumin (HSA) or ADCs systems; 3) unique ability per se to selectively deliver drugs into several tumor types (solid and hematological) through a specific widely over-expressed receptor (CD71); 4) stress-oxidative generating drugs (e.g. cisplatin, anthracyclines, etc) are delivered directly to the cell nucleus. More specifically, we are investigating novel genetically engineered HFt-based constructs able to efficiently entrap and deliver high amounts of drug to cancer. The protein-caged NPs we are obtaining have a great potential not only in view of the development of new and powerful research tools, but also in terms of their possible commercial exploitation.
1. Falvo E, Malagrinò F, Arcovito A, Fazi F, Colotti G, Tremante E, Di Micco P, Braca A, Opri R, Giuffrè A, Fracasso G, Ceci P. The presence of glutamate residues on the PAS sequence of the stimuli-sensitive nano-ferritin improves in vivo biodistribution and mitoxantrone encapsulation homogeneity. J Control Release. 2018 Apr 10; 275:177-185. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.02.025.
2. Damiani V, Falvo E, Fracasso G, Federici L, Pitea M, De Laurenzi V, Sala G, Ceci P. Therapeutic Efficacy of the Novel Stimuli-Sensitive Nano-Ferritins Containing Doxorubicin in a Head and Neck Cancer Model. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jul 18;18(7). pii: E1555.
doi: 10.3390/ijms18071555.
3. Sinibaldi A, Sampaoli C, Danz N, Munzert P, Sibilio L, Sonntag F, Occhicone A, Falvo E, Tremante E, Giacomini P, Michelotti F. Detection of soluble ERBB2 in breast cancer cell lysates using a combined label-free/fluorescence platform based on Bloch surface waves. Biosens Bioelectron. 2017 Jun 15; 92:125-130. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2017.02.012.
4. Fracasso G, Falvo E, Colotti G, Fazi F, Ingegnere T, Amalfitano A, Doglietto GB, Alfieri S, Boffi A, Morea V, Conti G, Tremante E, Giacomini P, Arcovito A, Ceci P. Selective delivery of doxorubicin by novel stimuli-sensitive nano-ferritins overcomes tumor refractoriness. J Control Release. 2016 Oct 10; 239:10-8. 
doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.08.010.
5. Falvo E, Tremante E, Arcovito A, Papi M, Elad N, Boffi A, Morea V, Conti G, Toffoli G, Fracasso G, Giacomini P, Ceci P. Improved Doxorubicin Encapsulation and Pharmacokinetics of Ferritin-Fusion Protein Nanocarriers Bearing Proline, Serine, and Alanine Elements. Biomacromolecules. 2016 Feb 8;17(2):514-22. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.5b01446. Epub 2015 Dec 30. PubMed PMID: 26686226. 
6. Fantechi E, Innocenti C, Zanardelli M, Fittipaldi M, Falvo E, Carbo M, Shullani V, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Ghelardini C, Ferretti AM, Ponti A, Sangregorio C, Ceci P. A smart platform for hyperthermia application in cancer treatment: cobalt-doped ferrite nanoparticles mineralized in human ferritin cages. ACS Nano. 2014 May 27;8(5):4705-19. doi: 10.1021/nn500454n. Epub 2014 Apr 8. PubMed PMID: 24689973.
7. Falvo E, Tremante E, Fraioli R, Leonetti C, Zamparelli C, Boffi A, Morea V, Ceci P, Giacomini P. Antibody-drug conjugates: targeting melanoma with cisplatin encapsulated in protein-cage nanoparticles based on human ferritin. Nanoscale. 2013 Dec 21;5(24):12278-85. doi: 10.1039/c3nr04268e. PubMed PMID: 24150593.
8. Vannucci L, Falvo E, Fornara M, Di Micco P, Benada O, Krizan J, Svoboda J, Hulikova-Capkova K, Morea V, Boffi A, Ceci P. Selective targeting of melanoma by PEG-masked protein-based multifunctional nanoparticles. Int J Nanomedicine. 2012; 7:1489-509. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S28242.
9. Falvo E, Strigari L, Citro G, Giordano C, Arcangeli S, Soriani A, D'Alessio D,Muti P, Blandino G, Sperduti I, Pinnarò P. Dose and polymorphic genes xrcc1,xrcc3, gst play a role in the risk of developing erythema in breast cancer patients following single shot partial breast irradiation after conservative surgery. BMC Cancer. 2011 Jul 12;11:291.
10. Falvo E,   Strigari L, Citro G, Giordano C, Boboc G, Fabretti F, Bruzzaniti V, Bellesi L, Muti P, Blandino G, Pinnarò P. SNPs in DNA repair or oxidative stress genes and late subcutaneous fibrosis in patients following single shot partial breast irradiation. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Jan 24;31:7.
IBPM staff:
Pierpaolo Ceci
Veronica Morea
Gianni Colotti
Andrea Ilari
Alessandro Giuffre’
IBPM associate 
Alberto Boffi, Dip.to Scienze Biochimiche "Sapienza" Università di Roma
External collaborations 
Giulio Fracasso, Dip.to Medicina, Università di Verona
Michele Milella, Istituto Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena-IRCCS, Roma (IT)
Patrizio Giacomini, Istituto Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena-IRCCS, Roma (IT)
Luca Vannucci, Laboratory of Natural Cell Immunity, Institute of Microbiology, ASCR, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague (CZ)
Gianluca Sala, Center for Aging Sciences CESI, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara. 
Academic History
• PhD in "Biochemistry" at the University of Rome “Sapienza” (University of Rome, Italy, 2015)
• Visiting scientist at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Microbiology, laboratory of Immunotherapy (Prague, CZ, 2013).
• Internship at a pharmaceutical company Menarini Research (Pomezia, Italy, 2005)
• Specialization in: "Biotechnological Applications" (University of Rome, Italy, 2004)
• Master in Biotechnology (University of Urbino, Italy, 2002)
• Degree cum laude in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology (University of Calabria, Italy, 2001)
Employment History
Elisabetta Falvo (CNR-IBPM) is specialized in biotechnological applications and expert in protein biochemistry and molecular biology.
2016-today Research activities at the National Research Council, Institute of Molecular Biology 
2015 Research activities at Dep. of Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome “Sapienza”.
2012-2014 Research activities at the National Research Council, Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology (CNR-IBPM) granted by AIRC. In particular, I have been working on the development of new multifunctional protein-based nano-platforms for bio-medical applications such as diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. 
2006-2011 Research activities at Laboratory Molecular Diagnostics of Clinical Pathology and at Pharmacogenomics, Molecular Medicine Area, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome. I worked on pharmacogenetic studies, i.e. the genetic basis of inter individual differences in drug response and/or radiation.
2005 Research activities at Dept. Structural Quality Control of Menarini Biotechnology (Pomezia, Italy), I have acquired competences in chromatographic techniques with particular attention to 'HPLC MS/MS for determination of molecules/drugs in biological samples according to standard FDA, EMEA, ICH.
2002-2005 Research activities at the National Research Council, Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology (CNR-IBPM) c/o Dep. of Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome “Sapienza”. I worked on the structure-function characterization of proteins belonging to the ferritin superfamily.