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Dr. Antonio Giordano Discovers a New Gene Repair Protein

The Watson Society joins NIAF in congratulating Dr. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., whose research isolated and subsequently discovered a new gene repair protein. Giordano is the director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, at Temple University, a professor of Pathology at the University of Siena, Italy, and a member of the NIAF Board of Directors.

The new gene repair protein is identified as Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein D (HNRNPD). It can bind chromatin DNA, a prerequisite for a protein involved in DNA repair.

For the past four years, Giordano led a team of Italian researchers who worked between Siena, Naples and Avellino, in Italy, and in Philadelphia. The research has been funded by U.S. federal and state governments. His team’s study reporting on this newly discovered role for HNRNPD was recently published in Nucleic Acids Research (Oxford Academic Press), one of the most authoritative journals in the field.

Because protecting the genome against DNA damage is crucial to prevent harmful mutations and cancer development, Giordano and his research team utilized a “gene fishing” approach using the synthetic DNA structure. The captured proteins were analyzed under mass spectrometry at the University of Siena. Giordano’s researchers focused on the RNA-binding protein HNRNPD, the loss of which induces cell senescence and premature aging in mice—two features associated with a defective DNA damage response.

“The inhibition of HNRNPD, through chemical compounds, can be used as a new strategy for cancer treatment in a combination therapy with the PARP1 inhibitor (Olaparib),” Giordano says.

“On behalf of NIAF, we want to congratulate Antonio Giordano, a member of our Board of Directors, for contributing to the field of cancer research and treatment. I am also pleased that he has received recognition from the important Italian government representative, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini,” said NIAF Chair Gabriel A. Battista.

“So many people will benefit from Dr. Giordano’s groundbreaking research and subsequent treatment,” said NIAF Chair Patricia de Stacy Harrison. “NIAF is proud to count him among the distinguished members of the board, committed to the values of our Italian heritage and advancing progress in all fields.”

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