Prof. Alberto Mantovani, the Scientific Director of Humanitas Clinical and Research Center and Professor of Pathology will receive tomorrow, Friday the 4th of November, the prestigious Robert Koch Award of 2016. The Robert Koch Award is one of the most important commendations given in Germany for any field of science. Furthermore it is the most important German award given annually for excellence in the field of Biomedical Sciences.
What is the focus of prof. Mantovani’s studies?
Prof. Mantovani’s pioneering work is focused on the link of inflammation and cancer. He has shown that underlying mechanisms of immunity and inflammation are very different diseases related to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, degenerative diseases and auto-inflammatory. These discoveries have led to a paradigm shift in medicine: diseases are not only borne by infectious agents, but also by bad communication between the cells of the immune system.
Specifically, Prof.. Mantovani’s research has shown how the phagocytes, involved in the natural response to inflammation, affect tumor growth. The “tumor-associated macrophages” act as “corrupt police officers”, by helping the cancer to proliferate. The tumor therefore, is not seen solely from a “Cell point of view”, but more extensively by considering the role of the immune cells in the “ecological niche” of the tumor. “A change of vision – adds the foundation – which is reflected in the development of immunotherapy targeted against these corrupt policemen”.
Prof. Alberto Mantovani is the second Italian to win this award
“I am very happy for this award, which recognizes not only myself, but in reality through me, my staff, engineers and young people, with whom I have worked over the years and that have allowed me to arrive here”, he states. “To a quote Bernard of Chartres, I think I’m a dwarf on the shoulders of giants who have won it before me, but I am also very happy for the fact that after almost 30 years, the prize has been awarded again to an Italian”.
What is the Robert Koch Award?
The Robert Koch Award, established in 1970 and named after the founder of modern bacteriology and microbiology, to whom we owe the discovery of the bacterial species (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) responsible for tuberculosis.
The award, rewards innovative discoveries in medicine. The importance of the Robert Koch Award is evident by the fact that eleven of the winners were later awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.