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Making Repairs: Stem Cells and the Pressures of Translational Medicine

A conversation with Michele DeLuca

October 31, 2012
31 minutes
Michele DeLuca


Michele De Luca is full professor of biochemistry, director, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Interdepartmental Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and scientific director of Holostem Terapie Avanzate S.r.l. He is a founding member of International Ocular Surface Society and a member of numerous scientific societies and national and international committees. He has authored over 110 scientific publications in major international journals and is the author of 4 international patents. Dr. De Luca is internationally recognized as a leading scientist in stratified epithelial stem cell biology aimed at clinical application in regenerative medicine. He played a pivotal role in epithelial stem cell-mediated cell therapy and gene therapy. Beside his pioneering work on the use of human epidermal stem cell cultures in life-saving treatment of massive full-thickness burns and in repigmentation of stable vitiligo and piebaldism, he and his prinicpal collaborator, Graziella Pellegrini, were the first in establishing human urethral epithelia stem cell cultures aimed at urethra regeneration in posterior hypospadias and human limbal stem cell culture aimed at corneal regeneration in patients with severe limbal stem cell deficiency. Dr. De Luca is currently coordinating the first (successful) ex-vivo epithelial stem cell-mediated gene therapy clinical trial for the gene therapy of genetic skin diseases as Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa. He is also studying molecular mechanisms regulating long term proliferative potential, clonal evolution and mitotic quiescence of epithelial stem cells. Dr. De Luca graduated M.D. in 1980 and obtained a specialty in endocrinology in 1984.