: In this review article, we present the fascinating story of rapamycin (sirolimus), a drug able to induce γ-globin gene expression and increased production of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) in erythroid cells, including primary erythroid precursor cells (ErPCs) isolated from β-thalassemia patients. For this reason, rapamycin is considered of great interest for the treatment of β-thalassemia. In fact, high levels of HbF are known to be highly beneficial for β-thalassemia patients. The story of rapamycin discovery began in 1964, with METEI, the Medical Expedition to Easter Island (Rapa Nui). During this expedition, samples of the soil from different parts of the island were collected and, from this material, an antibiotic-producing microorganism (Streptomyces hygroscopicus) was identified. Rapamycin was extracted from the mycelium with organic solvents, isolated, and demonstrated to be very active as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. Later, rapamycin was demonstrated to inhibit the in vitro cell growth of tumor cell lines. More importantly, rapamycin was found to be an immunosuppressive agent applicable to prevent kidney rejection after transplantation. More recently, rapamycin was found to be a potent inducer of HbF both in vitro using ErPCs isolated from β-thalassemia patients, in vivo using experimental mice, and in patients treated with this compound. These studies were the basis for proposing clinical trials on β-thalassemia patients.

The Long Scientific Journey of Sirolimus (Rapamycin): From the Soil of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) to Applied Research and Clinical Trials on β-Thalassemia and Other Hemoglobinopathies

Gambari, Roberto
Primo
;
Zuccato, Cristina
Secondo
;
Cosenza, Lucia Carmela;Zurlo, Matteo;Gasparello, Jessica;Finotti, Alessia
;
Gamberini, Maria Rita
Penultimo
;
2023

Abstract

: In this review article, we present the fascinating story of rapamycin (sirolimus), a drug able to induce γ-globin gene expression and increased production of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) in erythroid cells, including primary erythroid precursor cells (ErPCs) isolated from β-thalassemia patients. For this reason, rapamycin is considered of great interest for the treatment of β-thalassemia. In fact, high levels of HbF are known to be highly beneficial for β-thalassemia patients. The story of rapamycin discovery began in 1964, with METEI, the Medical Expedition to Easter Island (Rapa Nui). During this expedition, samples of the soil from different parts of the island were collected and, from this material, an antibiotic-producing microorganism (Streptomyces hygroscopicus) was identified. Rapamycin was extracted from the mycelium with organic solvents, isolated, and demonstrated to be very active as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. Later, rapamycin was demonstrated to inhibit the in vitro cell growth of tumor cell lines. More importantly, rapamycin was found to be an immunosuppressive agent applicable to prevent kidney rejection after transplantation. More recently, rapamycin was found to be a potent inducer of HbF both in vitro using ErPCs isolated from β-thalassemia patients, in vivo using experimental mice, and in patients treated with this compound. These studies were the basis for proposing clinical trials on β-thalassemia patients.
2023
Gambari, Roberto; Zuccato, Cristina; Cosenza, Lucia Carmela; Zurlo, Matteo; Gasparello, Jessica; Finotti, Alessia; Gamberini, Maria Rita; Prosdocimi, Marco
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2529796
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