Bio

Professional Education


  • Hematologist, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Hematology and Clinical Immunology (2012)
  • Doctor of Medicine, Universita Degli Studi Di Perugia (2006)
  • Diploma, Universita Degli Studi Di Roma (2007)

Stanford Advisors


Publications

Journal Articles


  • "Designed" grafts for HLA-haploidentical stem cell transplantation. Blood Martelli, M. F., Di Ianni, M., Ruggeri, L., Pierini, A., Falzetti, F., Carotti, A., Terenzi, A., Reisner, Y., Aversa, F., Falini, B., Velardi, A. 2014; 123 (7): 967-973

    Abstract

    Today human leukocyte antigen-haploidentical transplantation is a feasible option for patients with high-risk acute leukemia who do not have matched donors. Whether it is T-cell replete or T-cell depleted, it is still, however, associated with issues of transplant-related mortality and posttransplant leukemia relapse. After reports that adoptive immunotherapy with T-regulatory cells controls the alloreactivity of conventional T lymphocytes in animal models, tomorrow's world of haploidentical transplantation will focus on new "designed" grafts. They will contain an appropriate ratio of conventional T lymphocytes and T-regulatory cells, natural killer cells, γ δ T cells, and other accessory cells. Preliminary results of ongoing clinical trials show the approach is feasible. It is associated with better immune reconstitution and a quite powerful graft-versus-leukemia effect with a low incidence of graft-versus-host disease and no need for posttransplant pharmacological prophylaxis. Future strategies will focus on enhancing the clinical benefit of T-regulatory cells by increasing their number and strengthening their function.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2013-10-531764

    View details for PubMedID 24363403

  • Mast cells suppress murine GVHD in a mechanism independent of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. Blood Leveson-Gower, D. B., Sega, E. I., Kalesnikoff, J., Florek, M., Pan, Y., Pierini, A., Galli, S. J., Negrin, R. S. 2013; 122 (22): 3659-3665

    Abstract

    To investigate the role of mast cells in hematopoietic cell transplantation, we assessed graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) recipients, which virtually lack mast cells, compared with C57BL/6 WT recipients. GVHD was severely exacerbated in C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) mice (median survival time = 13 vs 60 days in wild-type [WT] mice; P < .0001). The increased mortality risk in C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) hosts correlated with increased T-cell numbers in lymph nodes, liver, and gastrointestinal tract sites, as indicated by bioluminescence imaging (P < .001). We did not detect any deficit in the number or function of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) mice. Furthermore, Tregs were equally effective at reducing GVHD in C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) recipients compared with WT recipients containing mast cells. Furthermore, we found that survival of C57BL/6-Kit(W-sh/W-sh) mice during GVHD was significantly improved if the mice were engrafted with bone marrow-derived cultured mast cells from WT C57BL/6 mice but not from interleukin (IL)-10-deficient C57BL/6 mice. These data indicate that the presence of mast cells can significantly reduce GVHD independently of Tregs, by decreasing conventional T-cell proliferation in a mechanism involving IL-10. These experiments support the conclusion that mast cells can mediate a novel immunoregulatory role during hematopoietic cell transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2013-08-519157

    View details for PubMedID 24030387

  • Regulatory T cells and natural killer T cells for modulation of GVHD following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Blood Schneidawind, D., Pierini, A., Negrin, R. S. 2013; 122 (18): 3116-3121

    Abstract

    Alloreactivity of donor lymphocytes leads to graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) contributing to significant morbidity and mortality following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Within the past decade, significant progress has been made in elucidating the mechanisms underlying the immunologic dysregulation characteristic of GVHD. The recent discoveries of different cell subpopulations with immune regulatory function has led to a number of studies aimed at understanding their role in allogeneic HCT and possible application for the prevention and treatment of GVHD and a host of other immune-mediated diseases. Preclinical animal modeling has helped define the potential roles of distinct populations of regulatory cells that have progressed to clinical translation with promising early results.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2013-08-453126

    View details for PubMedID 24068494

  • T regulatory cell separation for clinical application TRANSFUSION AND APHERESIS SCIENCE Di Ianni, M., Del Papa, B., Zei, T., Ostini, R. I., Cecchini, D., Cantelmi, M. G., Baldoni, S., Sportoletti, P., Cavalli, L., Carotti, A., Pierini, A., Falini, B., Martelli, M. F., Falzetti, F. 2012; 47 (2): 213-216

    Abstract

    We selected T regulatory cells (Tregs) from standard leukapheresis using double-negative selection (anti-CD8 and anti-CD19) followed by positive selection (anti-CD25) and 72 procedures were performed. A median of 263×10(6)cells (range 143-470×10(6)) were recovered with a mean of CD4(+)/CD25(+) cells of 94.5±2.4% (36.5±18.6% CD4(+)/CD25(+hi)). FoxP3(+) cells were equal to 79.8%±22.2. CD127(+) cells were 12.5%±8.2. The inhibition assay showed an inhibition rate of 67±22. Cells isolated by means of this approach can be used in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to reduce the incidence and severity of GvHD without bystander inhibition of general immunity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.transci.2012.06.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308849100018

    View details for PubMedID 22795999

  • TLR3 essentially promotes protective class I-restricted memory CD8(+) T-cell responses to Aspergillus fumigatus in hematopoietic transplanted patients BLOOD Carvalho, A., De Luca, A., Bozza, S., Cunha, C., D'Angelo, C., Moretti, S., Perruccio, K., Iannitti, R. G., Fallarino, F., Pierini, A., Latge, J., Velardi, A., Aversa, F., Romani, L. 2012; 119 (4): 967-977

    Abstract

    Aspergillus fumigatus is a model fungal pathogen and a common cause of severe infections and diseases. CD8⁺ T cells are present in the human and murine T-cell repertoire to the fungus. However, CD8⁺ T-cell function in infection and the molecular mechanisms that control their priming and differentiation into effector and memory cells in vivo remain elusive. In the present study, we report that both CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ T cells mediate protective memory responses to the fungus contingent on the nature of the fungal vaccine. Mechanistically, class I MHC-restricted, CD8⁺ memory T cells were activated through TLR3 sensing of fungal RNA by cross-presenting dendritic cells. Genetic deficiency of TLR3 was associated with susceptibility to aspergillosis and concomitant failure to activate memory-protective CD8⁺ T cells both in mice and in patients receiving stem-cell transplantations. Therefore, TLR3 essentially promotes antifungal memory CD8⁺ T-cell responses and its deficiency is a novel susceptibility factor for aspergillosis in high-risk patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2011-06-362582

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299860700011

    View details for PubMedID 22147891

  • FISH analysis reveals frequent co-occurrence of 4q24/TET2 and 5q and/or 7q deletions LEUKEMIA RESEARCH La Starza, R., Crescenzi, B., Nofrini, V., Barba, G., Matteucci, C., Brandimarte, L., Pierini, V., Testoni, N., Musto, P., Paolini, S., Gianfelici, V., Storlazzi, C. T., Pierini, A., Berchicci, L., Gorello, P., Mecucci, C. 2012; 36 (1): 37-41

    Abstract

    We investigated TET2 deletion in 418 patients with hematological malignancies. Overall interphase FISH detected complete or partial TET2 monoallelic deletion (TET2(del)) in 20/418 cases (4.7%). TET2(del) was very rare in lymphoid malignancies (1/242 cases; 0.4%). Among 19 positive myeloid malignancies TET2(del) was associated with a 4q24 karyotypic abnormality in 18 cases. In AML, TET2(del) occurred in CD34-positive hematopoietic precursors and preceded established genomic abnormalities, such as 5q- and -7/7q-, which were the most frequent associated changes (Fisher's exact test P=0.000).

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.leukres.2011.08.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298149100025

    View details for PubMedID 21920603

  • Genetically-Determined Hyperfunction of the S100B/RAGE Axis Is a Risk Factor for Aspergillosis in Stem Cell Transplant Recipients PLOS ONE Cunha, C., Giovannini, G., Pierini, A., Bell, A. S., Sorci, G., Riuzzi, F., Donato, R., Rodrigues, F., Velardi, A., Aversa, F., Romani, L., Carvalho, A. 2011; 6 (11)

    Abstract

    Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a major threat to the successful outcome of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), although individual risk varies considerably. Recent evidence has established a pivotal role for a danger sensing mechanism implicating the S100B/receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) axis in antifungal immunity. The association of selected genetic variants in the S100B/RAGE axis with susceptibility to IA was investigated in 223 consecutive patients undergoing HSCT. Furthermore, studies addressing the functional consequences of these variants were performed. Susceptibility to IA was significantly associated with two distinct polymorphisms in RAGE (-374T/A) and S100B (+427C/T) genes, the relative contribution of each depended on their presence in both transplantation counterparts [patient SNP(RAGE), adjusted hazard ratio (HR), 1.97; P = 0.042 and donor SNP(RAGE), HR, 2.03; P = 0.047] or in donors (SNP(S100B), HR, 3.15; P = 7.8e-(4)) only, respectively. Functional assays demonstrated a gain-of-function phenotype of both variants, as shown by the enhanced expression of inflammatory cytokines in RAGE polymorphic cells and increased S100B secretion in vitro and in vivo in the presence of the S100B polymorphism. These findings point to a relevant role of the danger sensing signaling in human antifungal immunity and highlight a possible contribution of a genetically-determined hyperfunction of the S100B/RAGE axis to susceptibility to IA in the HSCT setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0027962

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297555800046

    View details for PubMedID 22114731

  • Tregs prevent GVHD and promote immune reconstitution in HLA-haploidentical transplantation BLOOD Di Ianni, M., Falzetti, F., Carotti, A., Terenzi, A., Castellino, F., Bonifacio, E., Del Papa, B., Zei, T., Ostini, R. I., Cecchini, D., Aloisi, T., Perruccio, K., Ruggeri, L., Balucani, C., Pierini, A., Sportoletti, P., Aristei, C., Falini, B., Reisner, Y., Velardi, A., Aversa, F., Martelli, M. F. 2011; 117 (14): 3921-3928

    Abstract

    Hastening posttransplantation immune reconstitution is a key challenge in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-haploidentical hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). In experimental models of mismatched HSCT, T-regulatory cells (Tregs) when co-infused with conventional T cells (Tcons) favored posttransplantation immune reconstitution and prevented lethal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In the present study, we evaluated the impact of early infusion of Tregs, followed by Tcons, on GVHD prevention and immunologic reconstitution in 28 patients with high-risk hematologic malignancies who underwent HLA-haploidentical HSCT. We show for the first time in humans that adoptive transfer of Tregs prevented GVHD in the absence of any posttransplantation immunosuppression, promoted lymphoid reconstitution, improved immunity to opportunistic pathogens, and did not weaken the graft-versus-leukemia effect. This study provides evidence that Tregs are a conserved mechanism in humans.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2010-10-311894

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289265500028

    View details for PubMedID 21292771

  • Dectin-1 Y238X polymorphism associates with susceptibility to invasive aspergillosis in hematopoietic transplantation through impairment of both recipient- and donor-dependent mechanisms of antifungal immunity BLOOD Cunha, C., Di Ianni, M., Bozza, S., Giovannini, G., Zagarella, S., Zelante, T., D'Angelo, C., Pierini, A., Pitzurra, L., Falzetti, F., Carotti, A., Perruccio, K., Latge, J., Rodrigues, F., Velardi, A., Aversa, F., Romani, L., Carvalho, A. 2010; 116 (24): 5394-5402

    Abstract

    The C-type lectin receptor Dectin-1 plays a pivotal role in antifungal immunity. In this study, the recently characterized human DECTIN1 Y238X early stop codon polymorphism leading to diminished Dectin-1 receptor activity was studied in relation to invasive aspergillosis susceptibility and severity in patients receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We found that the presence of the DECTIN1 Y238X polymorphism in either donors or recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation increased susceptibility to aspergillosis, with the risk being highest when the polymorphism was present simultaneously in both donors and recipients (adjusted hazard ratio = 3.9; P = .005). Functionally, the Y238X polymorphism impaired the production of interferon-γ and interleukin-10 (IL-10), in addition to IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-17A, by human peripheral mononuclear cells and Dectin-1 on human epithelial cells contributed to fungal recognition. Mechanistically, studies on preclinical models of infection in intact or bone marrow-transplanted Dectin-1 knockout mice revealed that protection from infection requires a distinct, yet complementary, role of both donor and recipient Dectin-1. This study discloses Dectin-1 deficiency as a novel susceptibility factor for aspergillosis in high-risk patients and identifies a previously unsuspected role for Dectin-1 in antifungal immunity that is the ability to control both resistance and tolerance to the fungus contingent on hematopoietic/nonhematopoietic compartmentalization.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2010-04-279307

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285141200040

    View details for PubMedID 20807886

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