As a child Andrea Lunardi loved fishing off the beaches of his beloved Piombino and he had not discovered science yet. His passion for research started during the Biological Sciences bachelor program at the University of Pisa, where in 2004 he also completed his doctorate in Molecular Biotechnology.
He returned to Italy in 2014 from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, thanks to the Armenise-Harvard Foundation Career Development Award. He now leads a multidisciplinary research group on prostate cancer at CIBIO, the Center for Integrative Biology in Trento.
Lunardi’ s work aims to identify various classes of molecules produced by cancer cells. The objective is to find new and more reliable bio-markers in blood, urine, or semen, able to identify aggressive tumors. However, his research project is also focused on possible new therapeutic targets that reduce the malignant potential of a tumor and its ability to develop resistance against specific treatments.
In Boston, Lunardi developed the innovative “Co-Clinical Trial Project” where data collected in genetically engineered mouse models of human cancer treated with the identical protocols of on-going clinical trials or established therapies in patients serve to rapidly: i. stratify patients in “responsive” and “resistant” based on genetic and molecular aspects of their tumor; ii. identify mechanisms of tumor resistance, and, finally; iii. evaluate the effectiveness of drug combinations to overcome such mechanism of resistance.