Salvatore Albani, M.D., Ph.D.
I first fell in love with Sanford-Burnham because of the emphasis on translational medicine. I joined the faculty at a moment of dramatic transformation, in which immense intellectual resources have made the Institute a worldwide technology leader.
Dr. Albani studies the mechanisms of autoimmune diseases, and develops new strategies to re-direct T-cell responses.
Dr. Albani received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pavia.
View All Publications
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Prakken B, Albani S, Martini A
Lancet. 2011 Jun 18;377(9783):2138-49
Induction of immune tolerance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Albani S, Koffeman EC, Prakken B
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2011 May;7(5):272-81
Epitope-specific immunotherapy of rheumatoid arthritis: clinical responsiveness occurs with immune deviation and relies on the expression of a cluster of molecules associated with T cell tolerance in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot phase II trial.
Koffeman EC, Genovese M, Amox D, Keogh E, Santana E, Matteson EL, Kavanaugh A, Molitor JA, Schiff MH, Posever JO, Bathon JM, Kivitz AJ, Samodal R, Belardi F, Dennehey C, van den Broek T, van Wijk F, Zhang X, Zieseniss P, Le T, Prakken BA, Cutter GC, Albani S
Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Nov;60(11):3207-16
The advancement of translational medicine-from regional challenges to global solutions.
Albani S, Prakken B
Nat Med. 2009 Sep;15(9):1006-9
Autologous stem cell transplantation for autoimmunity induces immunologic self-tolerance by reprogramming autoreactive T cells and restoring the CD4+CD25+ immune regulatory network.
de Kleer I, Vastert B, Klein M, Teklenburg G, Arkesteijn G, Yung GP, Albani S, Kuis W, Wulffraat N, Prakken B
Blood. 2006 Feb 15;107(4):1696-702
Tolerogenic immune responses to novel T-cell epitopes from heat-shock protein 60 in juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Kamphuis S, Kuis W, de Jager W, Teklenburg G, Massa M, Gordon G, Boerhof M, Rijkers GT, Uiterwaal CS, Otten HG, Sette A, Albani S, Prakken BJ
Lancet. 2005 Jul 2-8;366(9479):50-6
Epitope-specific immunotherapy induces immune deviation of proinflammatory T cells in rheumatoid arthritis.
Prakken BJ, Samodal R, Le TD, Giannoni F, Yung GP, Scavulli J, Amox D, Roord S, de Kleer I, Bonnin D, Lanza P, Berry C, Massa M, Billetta R, Albani S
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 23;101(12):4228-33
Artificial antigen-presenting cells as a tool to exploit the immune 'synapse'.
Prakken B, Wauben M, Genini D, Samodal R, Barnett J, Mendivil A, Leoni L, Albani S
Nat Med. 2000 Dec;6(12):1406-10
Positive selection in autoimmunity: abnormal immune responses to a bacterial dnaJ antigenic determinant in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.
Albani S, Keystone EC, Nelson JL, Ollier WE, La Cava A, Montemayor AC, Weber DA, Montecucco C, Martini A, Carson DA
Nat Med. 1995 May;1(5):448-52
Salvatore Albani's Research Focus
Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease (Colitis), Inflammatory/Autoimmune Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes
Target DiseasesAutoimmunity, in particular rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type I diabetes and pediatric rheumatology, Infectious diseases, acquired immunodeficiency, including transient iatrogenic
Clinical ExperienceDr. Albani is a physician-scientist trained in pediatric and adult rheumatology.
Salvatore Albani’s, MD, PhD, fundamental research interest is in understanding adaptive immunity and human autoimmunity and contributing the knowledge to therapeutic and diagnostic advancements. He has developed several innovative approaches in the area of induction and maintenance of tolerance in human autoimmune diseases, being responsible for the whole translational process from idea to conclusion of Phase II clinical trial (and beyond, as planned). Prof. Albani has also developed high through put technology platforms which aim at addressing unmet medical needs, such as to predict responsiveness to certain therapies, potentially providing tools for knowledge-based diagnostic and therapeutics decisions (theragnostics). Combined, these approaches span both ways across the gradient of translational medicine, thus underscoring Prof. Albani’s deep commitment and contribution to the Field. Prof. Albani lists peer-reviewed contribution in several leading Journals and is an inventor of approximately 100 patents. Prof. Albani is a co-Founder of the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine, a non-for profit Foundation with educational and research objectives in the field of International Translational Medicine, and a founding member of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), whose mission is to prevent, treat and cure rheumatic diseases in children and adolescents. Prof. Albani has also been the founder of three biotechnology companies. Prof. Albani is the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the Kourir Award in Pediatric Rheumatology, Paris, France; and the Eijkman Award for Translational Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Most recently, Prof. Albani was recognized by Nature Biotechnology with an award for Outstanding Research Achievements during its SciCafe event (March 2012). Prof. Albani also serves on several ad hoc review panels and editorial boards. Prof. Albani’s research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis National Research Foundation and private sources.
Salvatore Albani's Research Report
Diseases characterized by chronic inflammation are notoriously difficult to treat.
Frequently, we don’t know what causes such diseases, nor how to cure them. Therapies
on the market achieve a level of efficacy in a percentage of patients, and their mechanisms
of action are not clear. Dr. Albani has dedicated his career to unraveling some of these
mysteries through translational research.
Our lab seeks to translate basic science into tangible clinical practices and
therapeutic options to improve the quality of patients' lives.
Our research platforms have generated over 80 patents to-date. More importantly,
our research has contributed to a greater body of knowledge that will ultimately help
develop better treatments, better protocols and improve human health.
The Albani laboratory designs and exploits tools for the manipulation of adaptive
immunity for therapeutic purposes:
What if you could retrain the immune system to recognize itself again?
That’s the concept behind a pool of short synthetic pan HLA-DR binder peptides.
These peptides can be used as oral immunomodulators. Clinical applications include
rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes,
and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The technology has been developed by Dr. Albani from
concept to conclusion of a Phase II trial in rheumatoid arthritis, showing safety and clinical
efficacy, and to pre-IND for multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
(Nature Medicine 1995/2009, Nature Reviews Rheumatology 2011, JCI 1992/1997, PNAS 2004, Lancet 2005/2011, A&R 2006/2007/2009)
Manipulation of T cells using artificial antigen-presenting cells:
Sometimes there is not enough of a good thing.
Example: antigen-specific T cells. The T-cell capture technology enables
identification, isolation and modulation of T cells, in a polyclonal and antigen-specific fashion.
Applications include immunotherapy of cancer and treatment of infections in an immunocompromised host.
(Nature Medicine 2000, JI 2005. Blood 2006, A&R 2007, Haematologica 2008)
Reverse Translational Immunomics Platform:
Putting the pieces together to generate a more complete picture.
Immunomics is the integration of multiplex phenotypical assays (FACS ARIA II, multiplex
TaqMan and functional assays). We use the Immunomics platform to dissect: i) function and
phenotype of individual sub-types of immune cells; and ii) their relative functional relationship
also in association with treatment and clinical status. Multiple stratifications by FACS enable
identification of subpopulations of immune cells which simultaneously express a given cluster of
molecules. TaqMan provides the quantitation aspect of the analysis. TaqMan also enables targeting
of a large number of molecules.
About Salvatore Albani
Prof. Albani earned his medical degree and doctorate (on the Molecular Basis of Pediatric Diseases) at the University of Pavia in Italy, where he also completed his residency in Pediatrics and Pediatric Rheumatology. Prof. Albani completed his postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Foundation and the University of California, San Diego. He is currently a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and Professor and Director of Translational Research, Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases Center, at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (SBMRI). Before joining SBMRI, Albani was Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, the Charles A.L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Rheumatology Research Chair at the Arizona Arthritis Center. He served as director of the Translational Medicine Unit at the Clinical Investigation Institute at the University of California, San Diego, where he also was Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics. While at UCSD, he started one of the first pediatric rheumatology practices in San Diego county.
Funding Awards and Collaborative Grants
• National Institutes of Health
• Arthritis Foundation
• Arthritis National Research Foundation
Honors and Recognition
• Kourir Award in Pediatric Rheumatology, Paris, France
• Eijkman Award for Translational Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands
• Nature Biotechnology award for Outstanding Research Achievements during its SciCafe event (March 2012)
• Co-Founder of the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine
• Founding member of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA)