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Funder/CentreIRCCS, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico, BESTA.
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IRCCS, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico, BESTA.

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IRCCS, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico, BESTA.Research Funder/Centre

Type of institution

Research centre



Dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases are a group of age and ageing-related diseases that affect more than 10% of elderly people. These conditions have dramatic impact on patients and their relatives, with heavy social costs. The Istituto Nazionale Neurologico Carlo Besta (INNCB) was founded in Milan in 1918 and since 1978 has been recognized as a Research Institute of Public Interest (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico-IRCCS). The Institute, funded by the National Health System, is a centre of excellence in neuroscience and has an established leadership in neurological diagnosis and therapy. About 4-5000 persons with vascular or neurodegenerative disorders are treated yearly. The Institute has specialised units for sophisticated therapies, advanced equipment for diagnosis and surgery, and modern, technologically advanced laboratories. The philosophy of the Institute is that since treatment and research are carried out in the same structure, each synergizes the other, facilitating translational research and continual improvements in patient care. The purpose of the Institute is to meet the needs of the population by providing high quality, efficient, scientifically innovative and effective treatments for persons with neurological conditions - always putting the individual (patient, employee, private citizen) first. The Institute aims to be a centre of clinical, neurological, and scientific excellence; a hospital and research centre of international stature. The main research activities are related to the development of new diagnostic methodologies and protocols, to the study of disease pathogenesis using cellular and animal models and to the identification of new therapeutic methodologies and compounds interacting with disease progression. The research activity is funded by the Italian Ministry of Health and by national and international organizations, including the European Union. The results are reported in hundreds of scientific papers published in international journals.


The mission of the INNCB is to supply the community with high quality and extremely advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services, by means of a synergy between basic and clinical research, treatment, rehabilitation and healthcare assistance. Clinical and research activity joins together clinical, genetic, neuropsycological, neurophysiological, neuroradiological, neurobiological, neuropathological and epidemiological competencies. It also promotes medical education and the training and development of scientific and technical staff.

Main research areas

The Institute carries out basic and clinical research into neurological conditions affecting adults and children, including chronic diseases, cancers and rare diseases. The main research areas are neurodegenerative, neuro-immunological, genetic and metabolic diseases, neuro-oncology and epilepsy. The approaches are always multidisciplinary, employing sophisticated morphological, physiological, genetic, cell biology and molecular biology techniques. Research is always translational with Institute prioritizing the application of its research findings to the treatment of patients. Here follows a brief summary of the research areas of the Institute:

Research area 1 - Epilepsy: (a) Clinical research (b) Preclinical research

Research area 2 - Brain development disorders: (a) Cognitive behavioural neurosciences (b) Cognitive and motor rehabilitation (c) Genotype-phenotype correlations and the physiopathogenetic study of malformations in human brains and animal models (d) Genetic and dysmorphic syndromes (e) Paediatric neurosurgery of lesions, growths and malformations

Research area 3 - Neuroimmunology: (a) Pathogenesis, immunobiology e-biological markers in immuno-mediate neurological diseases;(b) Immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapeutic approaches: identification, experimentation and pharmacogenomics (c) Clinical-biological database of patients affected with neuroimmunological diseases; Experimental models of immuno-mediate neurological diseases; (d) Immunobiology of neural stem cells.

Research area 4 - Neurodegenerative, metabolic and genetic pathology of the nervous system: (a) Clinical practice, molecular genetics, biological markers, pathogenesis and therapy of neurodegeneration in Alzheimers disease, front-temporal dementia, Lewy body disease, prione diseases, Parkinsons disease and parkinsonism, dystonia, ataxia, chorea, spastic paraparesis (b) Clinical practice, molecular genetics and therapies of metabolic neuropathies and mitochondrial diseases (c) Physiopathology, molecular genetics and therapies of peripheral neuropathies, spinal muscular atrophy, motor-neural diseases and muscular dystrophy

Research area 5 - Pain syndromes of the nervous system: (a) Clinical practice, physiopathology and therapy of headache and of cranial-facial pain (b) Peripheral neuropathic pain

Research area 6 - Cerebrovascular Diseases: (a) Phenotypic and proteomic characterisation (b) Pharmacogenomics (c) Neuronal plasticity (d)Vascular neurology (e) Elective surgical treatments

Research area 7 - Neuro-oncology (a) Integration of genetic markers in the treatment of neuro-oncological patients (b) Immunotherapy with dendritic cells of patients with glioblastoma (c) Study of genetic alterations underpinning the formation of glioma and medulloblastoma: interaction with stem cells and the development of animal models (d) Surgical treatment of neoplasia of the nervous system

Research area 8 - Imaging and technological development (a) Application of advanced fMRI-BOLD RM techniques, perfusion, spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in SN pathologies. Integration with neuronavigational systems and electrophysiological techniques. Implementation of warehouse and laboratory of bio-images (b) Centralized cryobank of tissues, cell lines (including stem cell lines), biological liquids, DNA. Computerization via website (c) Implementation of systems for positioning of electrodes, probes, catheters by means of mechanical robot arms coupled with neuronavigational systems for functional neurosurgery (d) Technological platform for the neurophysiological study of animal models of neurological pathology

Research area 9 - Innovative therapies: (a) Deep brain stimulation (b) Stem cell factory for regenerative cellular therapies (c) Radiotherapy and radiosurgery (d) Experimental neurosurgery

Research area 10 - Neuro-epidemiology, organization and management of clinical research, social sciences: (a) Diagnostic-therapeutic guidelines and paths (b) Registries of disease (c) Validation of clinical outcomes in Neurology (d). Development and management of clinical database (e) Methodology of independent clinical trials (f) Continuity of assistance and implementation of communication flow (g) Containment of clinical risk (h) Collaborative network of institutions/health authorities/volunteers (i) Validation of new instruments of description and classification of health and disability and strategies for prevention and cure (j) Editorial base of Cochrane group for Multiple Sclerosis


Scientific Director: Prof. Ferdinando Cornelio


Scientific Direction â?


+ 39 02 23942335; +

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