Lung cancer is an oncological pathology interconnected with current times. It is strongly influenced by environmental factors, primarily pollution, and wrong lifestyles, such as smoking. In recent decades it has evolved from a "rare" cancer to one of the leading cause of death in industrialized countries, including Italy. Notably, in our country, this neoplasm is the first cause of cancer death in men and the second in women, with almost 34,000 deaths a year. However, research is constantly evolving and progressing on a dual front: early diagnosis and therapies, and the environmental front. We have discussed this with Professor Antonio Giordano, oncology-pathologist and geneticist, founder and director of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), based in Philadelphia in the USA.
Biomarkers to Intercept Molecular Damage
Lung cancer is one of the most aggressive – explains the scientist to Sanità Informazione – and poses great therapeutic challenges. Research has made great progress in recent years. Now we can determine the behaviour of these neoplasms from the classifications and therefore identify the most suitable therapeutic choice. For lung cancer, as well as those of pancreas or brain, there is still a great need for scientific research to identify with increasing precision those biomarkers that allow early prediction of the pathology, understanding the molecular damage before the pathology occurs. In fact, when these genes are modified by environmental factors and/or incorrect lifestyle, they determine uncontrolled division of cells leading to the development of tumor pathology ».
The Role of Environmental Pollution
"Environmental pollution has an important impact – says Giordano – so much so that 90% of the pathologies afflicting humanity derive from environmental insults. There are certainly areas more at risk, where the impact of carcinogenic substances in the air, water and soil is a critical determinant for the appearance of these diseases. To manage the situation there are two possible strategies that can be implemented: the first is starting a biomonitoring program, even in healthy populations but most at risk for environmental causes, so we could identify the damage early. We are working on non-invasive tests that, with a simple salivary sample, allow the detection of mutations at the genetic level, thereby identifying subjects at risk before the disease manifests. The second strategy is the precise elimination of the environmental damage. if we continue to pollute at these levels, there is no early diagnosis or treatment that could work. Pollutants – he underlines – including asbestos, dioxin, and metals alone, which already impact the population, constitute a "lethal cocktail", which can damage and transform DNA causing tumors and other pathologies. Many other non-oncological diseases, which were rare some time ago, are now dramatically increasing.
Sbarro Health Research Organization: The Bridge Between Italy and the USA for Research
"The Sbarro Health Research Organization – continues Giordano – which I founded in 1992, since the beginning finances scientific and biomedical research on oncological diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Hundreds of young people have trained at SHRO and today occupy positions of excellence in the field of research worldwide. Thanks to our commitment, many young talents have returned to Italy. To consolidate the relationship between Italy and the USA in the field of scientific research, we have decided to create a SHRO structure in Italy that we will officially launch on June 15th: the Sbarro Health Research Organization Italy – he concludes – which will facilitate our mission of growth and training of the brightest minds for research.
Professor Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., is the creator and head of the Sbarro Health Research Organization, located at Temple University's College of Science and Technology in Philadelphia. Stay connected with him through his various social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, to receive the latest updates.