Istituto Fondazione di Oncologia Molecolare ETS

IFOM ETS, the AIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology is a highly technological, non-profit research center supported by AIRC, the Italian Association for Cancer Research.

IFOM was established in 1998 by FIRC (the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research). The aim was to create a research environment where scientists from the major National scientific institutions in the Milan area (European Institute of Oncology, National Institute for Cancer Research, Mario Negri Pharmacological Research Institute, San Raffaele Biomedical Sciences Park, University of Milan) could collaborate and pool their organisational, economic and cultural resources, in order to meet the demands of modern-day science. IFOM is recognized as a Centre of Excellence for Research from the Lombardy Regional Council.

The research conducted at IFOM aims to understand the molecular processes responsible for the onset and development of cancer. IFOM leads its research with an interdisciplinary perspective, merging different cognitive fields: molecular, cellular, structural and computational biology, genomics, proteomics, molecular diagnostics, pharmacogenomics, immunology, metabolomics, physics and engineering.

Having established a solid base in basic research, IFOM is now concentrating its efforts on translational research for the rapid transfer of scientific findings from the laboratory to diagnostic and therapeutic clinical practice. IFOM has established a network of partnerships with cutting-edge scientific organizations around the world that go beyond traditional project-based collaborations. Complementary strategies, shared scientific objectives and integration of resources are the key elements at the heart of these international ventures. Thanks to these agreements, IFOM is becoming an important player in the global landscape of cancer research institutions.

A number of centralized facilities are present and accessible to the PI, including: basic services (i.e. kitchen and cell culture) and Technological Development Units (TDUs, IFOM scientists are also supported by COGENTECH (, a company jointly owned by IFOM and IEO. Fields covered by such centralized services include, DNA sequencing, Microarray, Real-Time PCR, Mass Spectrometry, Electron microscopy, Imaging and FACS sorting, Proteomics, Animal Models (mouse, fruitfly, zebrafish) and Molecular Pathology. Moreover IFOM has a dedicated technology transfer office, supporting researchers of filing patents well as in approaching potential partners for commercial exploitation. All these facilities provide state-of-the-art technology and performances.

IFOM has a strong infrastructure for the administrative support and financial management of the fellowships. IFOM grants office staff is specialized in managing European Union projects (including FP6, FP7, 8 European Research Council (ERC) and Horizon 2020 projects) and is taking care of the management of funds (funding allocation, monitoring research expenditures and producing financial statements). IFOM administrative offices work closely together with scientific groups to ensure proper management of fellowships and ensure financial compliance.

Role of institution in the project

IFOM is sponsor of several Master Observational Trials empowering the collection and integration of both retrospective and prospective longitudinal clinical/molecular data, imaging and biological specimens from real-world and selected colorectal and breast cancer patients.

IFOM will participate in the definition of the guidelines for data federation, processing and management (WP5/T5.1) and in the identification of common data models/format for interoperability with external infrastructures (WP5/T5.6).

IFOM will be specifically involved in the validation of the infrastructure, participating in the definition of use cases from external and internal partners to demonstrate the usability (WP7/T7.1; T7.2) and clinical validation (WP7/T7.4) of the platform.

Dr. Silvia Marsoni

Dr. Silvia Marsoni, MD PhD, is Principal Investigator of Precision Oncology Unit at IFOM, since she joined in 2018. She has an international-recognized experience as clinical trial and translational platform designer in oncology, striving to connect the dots between preclinical and clinical issues in order to translate the preclinical discoveries into clinical applications. She is currently responsible for conceiving, designing, implementing and conducting proof-of-concept interventional clinical trials and master observational trials, most in colon and breast cancers-related fields, involving Italian groups of translational researchers and international clinical sites network. During her long active carrier in cancer research, Silvia has established a record of accomplishments in the field of drug development and clinical trial methodology. Before joining IFOM, Silvia was Acting Branch Chief of Investigational Drugs Branch at National Cancer Institute, Bethesda (USA). Moved to Italy, she held the role of Head of Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Clinical Trials Unit and Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory at Mario Negri Institute, Milano (IT), becoming later Director of SENDO (Southern Europe New Drug Organization) Foundation, Milano (IT), and then Director of Clinical Trials Unit at Candiolo Cancer Center, FPO-IRCCS, Candiolo (IT).

Dr. Luca Lazzari

Dr. Luca Lazzari is Translational Project Manager of Precision Oncology Unit at IFOM, since he joined in 2018. He is responsible for organizing, coordinating and managing all the aspects around data and specimens for translational projects embedded in proof-of-concept clinical trials and master observational trials, including logistics, collection and analysis. Luca holds his Master in Science Degrees in Molecular Biology and PhD in Molecular Medicine from University of Torino (IT). Post-doc research activity was carried out at the Molecular Oncology Laboratory (PI: Alberto Bardelli), Candiolo Cancer Research, FPO-IRCCS, Candiolo (IT). Research topics focused on clonal evolution and its impact in the development of molecular drug resistance to targeted therapies in colorectal cancer, with interest for translational patient-derived avatar models.

Chiara D Soffientini

Chiara D Soffientini is a Data Engineering in the Precision Oncology Unit at IFOM. With a degree and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering obtained at Politecnico di Milano, she is now in charge of maintenance and developing of tools for research data collection and data integration, including clinical information of cancer patients, translational laboratory results and imaging. Aware of the importance of data quality, she supports the data management activities developing automated tools for analysis and reporting.

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