09|12|26 - Two Italian American scientists at Columbia University Medical Center, Antonio Iavarone, M.D., associate professor of neurology in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Andrea Califano, Ph.D., director of the Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology, have discovered two genes that, when simultaneously activated, are responsible for the most aggressive forms of human brain cancer.
This finding was made possible by the assembly of the first comprehensive network of molecular interactions that determine the behavior of these cancer cells, a map so complex and elusive that, until now, it could not be constructed. The discovery may lead to completely novel strategies to diagnose and treat these incurable tumors. The findings were published in an advanced online edition of Nature on Dec. 23, 2009.
Dr. Iavarone emigrated from Italy about five years ago after apparently questioning the lack of meritocracy in the university system in Italy.
(Pictured from top, Dr. Iavarone, Dr. Califano)