Wistar Scientist Earns Fellowship Award From American-Italian Cancer Foundation

July 23, 1998

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. -- Giorgia Gri, Ph.D., a visiting scientist at The Wistar Institute, has been given a fellowship by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, U.S. representative of the European School of Oncology. The $25,000 award will support her medical research project, regulation of Interleukin-12 (IL-12) receptor b2 chain expression: a mechanism for modulation of IL-12 function.

Dr. Gri, a native of Pordenone, Italy, earned her Ph.D. in Biological Science from Modena University in Italy. She has worked at Wistar since 1995 in the laboratory of Dr. Giorgio Trinchieri, head of the Institute's tumor immunology program.

In 1989, Dr. Trinchieri identified Interleukin-12, a cytokine that engages in both anti-tumor and anti-metastatic activities when injected locally into the tumors of mice. To maximize the immunotherapeutic potential of IL-12 in humans, however, additional research must be done to explain exactly how it behaves in the immune system.

Dr. Gri's research focuses on the early events that prepare a cell for interaction with IL-12. Her findings are expected to contribute to the development of safer and more effective IL-12 therapies against cancer.

The mission of the American-Italian Cancer Foundation is to advance cancer research, in part through the sponsorship of promising young scientists in Italy and the U.S.. It is the Foundation's hope that young scientists will return to their respective countries with the motivation and skill to conduct original research. In addition to promoting the scientific advancement of the fellow, these fellowship awards foster cooperative research programs between the U.S. and Italy.

The Wistar Institute, established in 1892, was the first independent medical research facility in the country. For more than 100 years, Wistar scientists have been making history and improving world health through their development of vaccines for diseases that include rabies, German measles, infantile gastroenteritis (rotavirus), and cytomegalovirus; discovery of molecules like interleukin-12, which are helping the immune system fight bacteria, parasites, viruses and cancer; and location of genes that contribute to the development of diseases like breast, lung and prostate cancer. Wistar is a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center.

The Wistar Institute

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