The Italian Almanac

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Outstanding Achievement

An Italian institute received the 2012 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research, dubbed the Oscar for researchers. The study carried out by the Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo (IRST), in collaboration with Princeton University, examined a family of molecules known as microRNA and their relation to tumor metastasis.

Several microRNAs are linked with some types of cancer and can trigger the growth of metastasized breast and bone tumors. Toni Ibrahim, director of the Center for Osteo-Oncology at the IRST, underlined that the "greater understanding of the diffusion processes of a tumor from its original site to other parts of the body could help develop molecules that can interfere and block these mechanisms".

The award, founded in 1979 and given by the American Association for Cancer Research, comes with a research grant and is one of the most prestigious awards for researchers.