Unit of Translational Research                                       Italian  version


General Presentation:

The "Translational research unit" has as its mission to transfer knowledge gained from basic research to the clinic of infectious diseases in order to improve the quality of patient care. In particular, our tasks are to:

1) to carry out experimental research for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches aimed at improving care for patients with infectious diseases. In this context, studying the specific immune response to M. tuberculosis, it was possible to identify and characterize the immune response by different clinical stages of TB (infection, disease, vaccination with Bacillus Cametti et Guerin). Based on this knowledge we have developed and patented a test (test INMI) that allows to discriminate between the active phase replication of M. tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection. This knowledge has then transferred to the bed of the patient. We evaluated the response to this test in various clinical settings (patients enrolled with suspected TB disease, pediatric cases, immunosuppressed patients for HIV infection or iatrogenic causes, health workers) and developing countries with high endemicity of tuberculosis (Africa and Asia). We have also set up potential new diagnostic approaches based on the use of antigens other than those used for commercial tests (eg latency antigens) or by varying incubation times (detection of a memory response), or in addition to using ' IFN-gamma, different markers for detection of immunological response (IP-10, MCP-2, IL-2);

2) we are currently evaluating the role of autophagy in the clearance of infection by M. tuberculosis. Autophagy, which is an homeostatic mechanism conserved in all eukaryotic organisms, allows the cells to sequester discrete portions of cytoplasm within a double lipid membrane, the autofagosome, which, once merged with the lysosome, allows the degradation of cytoplasmic material. The autophagic process has several physiological roles: it contributes to the normal turnover of cytoplasmic components by degrading damaged organelles or in stress  conditions, it removes the cellular components that are potentially toxic. Objective of the ongoing study is to study autophagy in primary human cells, such as monocytes and macrophages infected in vitro with M. tuberculosis , and to understand if there is a correlation between the autophagic process and tuberculosis disease using primary cells from patients with active disease.

3) design and participation in the conduct of clinical studies testing new diagnostic approaches for tuberculosis. In this context, we participate to national and international multicenter clinical trials in Europe within the TBNET and in India with support from the Merieux Foundation and in Uganda with the support of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Furthermore, the definition of translational research has indicated the need for industrial and commercial partners to exploit the knowledge gained from basic research. For this reason, during these years, the test INMI has been patented and the patent process has been extended to European and international level.

Description of the structure

The Translational Research Unit is located at “Laboratorio Del Vecchio” and it is organized in three studies (rooms 13, 12 and 19) and one laboratory (room 22). The use of laboratories and instruments of the other units of the institute is available.

Ambulatory activity

Dr. Goletti provides outpatient activity at the UOC of Pneumology directed by Dr. Francesco Nicola Lauria (Padiglione Pontano, ground floor). In this context her primary activity is to follow the patients with tuberculous infection or disease.


Head: Dr.ssa Delia Goletti

Tel: +39 06.55170906/954 - fax:  +39.06.5582825          email: delia.goletti@inmi.it

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