Alberto Mantovani, MD, is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the Humanitas University in Milan, and Scientific Director of the Istituto Clinico Humanitas. His attention has been focused on molecular mechanisms of innate immunity and inflammation. He has contributed to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Immunology formulating new paradigms and identifying new molecules and functions.
For his research activity he has received several national and international awards, such as the Triennial OECI Award from the Organization of the European Cancer Institutes, the Robert Koch Award for his contribution to tumor immunology and immunotherapy, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) Prize for Excellence in Medicine and, most recent, the American Association for Cancer Research International Pezcoller Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research.
Following the deepening of the studies by Robert Evans and Peter Alexander on the role of macrophages in tumour formation, Mantovani discovered that macrophages, rather than helping to shrink the tumor, help it to grow and progress. He gave the acronym for such tumor-associated macrophages as TAM. His work in 2013 showed that targeting TAM is useful for cancer treatment. In 1983, his research team has discovered a protein, known as monocyte chemotactic protein.
Which is part of the large superfamily of chemokines, which belong to the family of cytokines. His works help to establish the concept of “decoy receptors”. From the study of the regulation of the cytokines, Mantovani was able to identify the operating principle of the decoy receptor for interleukin – 1. In 1993, his team showed interleukin-1 type II receptor acts as a decoy in the activity of interleukin 1.
His team identified the first member of the long pentraxins, named PTX3 in 1997. The discovery was published in a series of papers. His team demonstrated in 2005 that the chemokine receptor D6 acts as a decoy and scavenger receptor for inflammatory chemokines. In 2015 his research, published in the journal Cell, showed that PTX3 gene is capable of curbing cancer by controlling inflammation.