Dr Stefano Pluchino
Stem cell signalling and brain repair
Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Clifford Allbutt Building, Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Stefano Pluchino received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Siena, Italy, and additional training at Cambridge University, UK. He is University Lecturer in Brain Repair and Honorary Consultant in Neurology within the Centre for Brain Repair (2010). He’s also non-tenured Professor of Regenerative Neuroscience at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milano (Italy; since 2005) and adjunct Associate Professor in Neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington (USA; since 2008). Stefano Pluchino has been awarded the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FISM) Rita Levi-Montalcini prize for outstanding research in MS (2007) and the International Royan Award for outstanding research in Stem Cell Biology and Technology (2010). Dr Pluchino is a 2009 Italian Ministry of Health Young Investigator Awardee and 2010 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Independent Researcher. He’s editorial board member for Brain.
The major contribution of Stefano Pluchino’s studies has been the demonstration of the [constitutive vs inducible] immune modulatory functions of somatic neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs). His major recent focus has been the exploitation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the therapeutic plasticity of neural progenitor cells in inflammatory CNS diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke, and spinal cord injury. His most recent interests are the exploitation of the different modalities by which NPCs engage programs of horizontal cell-to-cell communication with cells in the microenvironment.
John and Lucille Van Geest Endowment, CDMRP MS Research Program, International Progressive MS Alliance, Wellcome Trust, European Commission, Evelyn Trust, Bascule Charitable Trust, The Great Britain Sakakawa Foundation, UK MS Society
My laboratory provided the first evidence of the immune modulatory functions of neural stem cells. This seminal observation led to pre-clinical studies where stem cells were injected through biological routes to protect the nervous system from secondary tissue damage. My group is now confronting with some key challenges that include:
1. The development of protocols for safe human stem cells under standardized conditions;
2. The choice of route of cell injection, cell dosage and cell type/stage;
3. The identification of mechanisms of stem cell integration and signalling;
4. The discovery of new biomarkers of stem cell survival, biodistribution and functional effects.
We are fully committed to delivering next-generation stem cell therapies into clinics for the treatment of highly invalidating neurological disorders that include multiple sclerosis, stroke and traumatic injuries of the brain/spinal cord.
Jayden A. Smith
In our lab we study how various types of stem cells and other advanced molecular therapies are able to help the damaged or diseased brain heal or even regenerate. In particular, we are clarifying the molecular mechanisms that transplanted stem cells use to interact with their surrounding tissue, the so-called microenvironment. Such mechanisms may be harnessed and used to modulate disease states in an effort to repair and/or regenerate critical components of the nervous system.
- Cossetti C, Iraci N, Mercer TR, Leonardi T, Alpi E, Drago D, Alfaro-Cervello C, Saini H, Davis M, Schaeffer J, Muller W, Garcia-Verdugo JM, Mathivanan S, Bachi A, Enright A, Mattick JS, Pluchino S. Extracellular vesicles from neural stem cells transfer IFN-g via Ifngr1 to activate Stat1 signalling in target cells. Mol Cell 2014 Oct 23;56(2):193-204 PMCID:PMC4578249
- Cusimano M, Biziato D, Brambilla E, Donegà M, Alfaro-Cervello C, Snider S, Salani G, Pucci F, Comi G, Garcia-Verdugo JM, De Palma M, Martino G, Pluchino S. Transplanted neural stem/precursor cells instruct phagocytes and reduce secondary tissue damage in the injured spinal cord. Brain. 2012; 135(Pt 2): 447-60 PMCID:PMC3558737
- Pluchino S, Gritti A, Blezer E, Amadio S, Brambilla E, Borsellino G, Cossetti C, Del Carro U, Comi G, 't Hart B, Vescovi A, Martino G. Human neural stem cells ameliorate autoimmune encephalomyelitis in non-human primates. Ann Neurol. 2009; 66(3): 343-54 PMID:19798728
- Pluchino S, Zanotti L, Rossi B, Brambilla E, Ottoboni L, Salani G, Martinello M, Cattalini A, Bergami A, Furlan R, Comi G, Constantin G, Martino G. Neurosphere-derived multipotent precursors promote neuroprotection by an immunomodulatory mechanism. Nature. 2005; 436(7048): 266-71 PMID: 16015332
- Pluchino S, Quattrini A, Brambilla E, Gritti A, Salani G, Dina G, Galli R, Del Carro U, Amadio S, Bergami A, Furlan R, Comi G, Vescovi AL, Martino G. Injection of adult neurospheres induces recovery in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. Nature. 2003; 422(6933): 688-94 PMID: 12700753