Fight against cancer

Fight against cancer

The mission

 

The purpose of the Associazione Alan Ghitis Inc. is to engage in the fight against cancer by promoting oncological research and by supporting cancer patients and their families. Melanomas will be given precedence, but all form of cancers will be considered.

The Associazione may engage in oncological research by contributing to projects by private, public or university organizations. It may also distribute scholarships to university students in cancer research, as well as finance especially innovative start-up projects in cancer research by entities or individuals. And it may also want to contribute to hospitals and/or clinics in their purchase of equipment destined to cancer therapy.

Our projects

The Alan Ghitis Fellowship for melanoma research at the Jonsson Cancer Center of UCLA:

To support the research in the field of melanoma of Prof. Antoni Ribas of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Ghitis Fellowship Award will provide funds to help underwrite the salary and benefits of a graduate or postdoctoral level researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Ribas. At the discretion of Prof. Ribas, the award is renewable for up to three years in support of a single recipient.

The first Ghitis Fellow was elected on September 24, 2019, at a ceremony at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Alan Ghitis Fellowship for melanoma research at Humanitas University:

To support the research in the field of melanoma of Prof. Maria Rescigno in the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies based on bacteria as immunostimulators.

The Alan Ghitis Fellowship Award will provide funds to help underwrite the salary and benefits of a PhD student that will further this approach by evaluating strategies to induce the tumor cell to re-express a flag on their cell surface that alerts the immune system of their neoplastic nature to allow immune cells to recognize it and kill it.

The Ph.D. Programme in Molecular and Experimental Medicine (MEM)

 

Humanitas research and Hospital ranks among Top 5% (Italy) and top 10% (worldwide) (Scimago ranking)
Humanitas Research Hospital and University is an international hub for the training of doctors and researchers capable of dealing with future scientific, technological and social challenges. The close integration between the Hospital, the Research Laboratories and the University creates the conditions for healthcare professionals to gain experience by working closely with patients and at the same time acquire the methodology and rigour that scientific research requires – a means to creating synergy between clinical and laboratory practice in an educational context. The bibliometric indexes demonstrate the outstanding quality and quantity of scientific research at Humanitas, proliferating year after year.
The basic and clinical research in numbers: ≈  560 professionals of which 330 researchers; Principal investigators (22), Junior PI/Staff scientists, PhD students, PostDocs, technologists/technicians),  230 physicians involved in research; 28 laboratories; 20.000 sqm teaching and research.
Scimago institutions ranking is a science evaluation resource to assess worldwide universities and research-focused institutions. They are ranked by a composite indicator that combines three different sets of indicators based on research performance, innovation outputs and societal impact.
Cancer immunotherapy and the advent of immune checkpoint blockade has revolutionized cancer treatment. It reactivates the immune system to recognize and kill tumor cells. Although a good proportion of patients respond to immune checkpoint blockade, still many do not. This is because they do not have an immune response to be reactivated.
Within the AIRC 5×1000 project, which funds a network of 8 units in 4 different institutions in Italy, we will vaccinate patients so to improve immunocheckpoint based intervention. With the Alan Ghitis fellowship, a PhD student at Humanitas University and Research hospital will further this approach by evaluating strategies to induce the tumor cell to re-express a flag on their cell surface that alerts the immune system of their neoplastic nature to allow immune cells to recognize it and kill it.
The immune system plays a major role in controlling tumor development via a process which is called immune surveillance. When a cell becomes neoplastic, the immune system recognizes its cancerous state and kills it. Tumor cells display a sort of a flag on their surface to alert the immune system to be eliminated (see Figure 1).
Unfortunately, when tumor cells find strategies to evade the immune system, they start growing undisturbed. They can either avoid displaying the flag (they hide themselves) or can inactivate immune cells capable of recognizing the flag (see Figure 1).

 

 

Recent advancement in cancer therapy has demonstrated that strategies aimed at reactivating the immune response are very powerful. They can reactivate the immune cells that recognize the flag. Belong to this type of immunotherapy the so called immune check point inhibitors whose discovery earned a Nobel prize to the inventors in 2018 (see Figure 2a).
These immune checkpoint inhibitors, however, are ineffective when there are no immune cells to recognize the flag to be reactivated. In this case another strategy aimed to instruct immune cells to recognize de novo the flag has been proposed. This strategy resembles the vaccination against infectious agents, with the difference that the enemy to attack in this vaccination is the tumor (see Figure 2b). It is not preventive but should be administered to patients already having a tumor either just after its removal to avoid recurrence of the disease, or in patients with metastases where surgical removal is not feasible.
While immune checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated to be very powerful, vaccination is still under evaluation, and probably the combination with immune checkpoint blockade can improve its efficacy. We have proposed a new strategy of vaccination that has been financed by the Italian foundation for cancer research (AIRC 5×1000) and that we will be testing in a clinical trial on metastatic melanoma patients.
In some patients vaccination coupled to immune checkpoint inhibition may still not be successful because of the ability of tumor cells to avoid displaying the flag. With the Alan Ghitis fellowship, a PhD student at Humanitas University and Research hospital will evaluate strategies to induce the tumor cell to express the flag on their cell surface so to avoid hiding from the immune system (see Figure 2c).

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The people behind the decisions

 

“We are often asked how the Board goes about selecting the most worthwhile projects. We receive many applications for promising research; so we count on the advice of the experts – our Scientific Advisory Committee. This Committee is made of eminent cancer specialists who give their time voluntarily to meet and evaluate proposals. The breadth of knowledge and depth of experience of our committee members ensure that only research of the highest caliber is funded. If an application shows great promise then we will award it funding no matter where in the world it is being carried out.”

Prof. Antoni Ribas

Prof. Antoni Ribas

Prof. Antoni Ribas, a renowned physician-scientist and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been named the 2019-2020 President-Elect for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He will officially become President-Elect on April 1st during the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting in Atlanta and will assume the presidency at the 2020 AACR Annual Meeting.

As director of the tumor immunology program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ribas has helped lead the development of new therapies for malignant melanoma, for which few effective therapies exist.
Ribas is known for his work in immunology and understanding how the immune system can effectively be used to fight cancer in order to develop more effective and less toxic therapies for people with cancer. He led the clinical program that demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug pembrolizumab, which has been a significant advancement in the treatment of melanoma. This was the first of the class of PD-1 blocking antibodies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of any cancer. Dr. Ribas and his laboratory continue to develop new immunotherapies for this disease.

“It is a great honor to be elected by my peers as the President-Elect of AACR,” Ribas said. “In this time of remarkable and rapid advancement in our understanding of cancer we have made great strides at improving treatments, but it is not enough. I believe AACR has to continue to advocate for public policy and funding to support cancer research and the development of new treatments, which is the best investment we can make in our futures. I look forward to working with researchers, clinicians, policymakers, patient advocates, caregivers and patients to pursue the common goal of defeating cancer.”

Born in Barcelona, Spain, Ribas attended the University of Barcelona, where he earned both his medical and doctoral degrees before coming to UCLA in 1996. Now, more than 20 years later, the physician-scientist has made UCLA his second home. He is a member of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and a full professor in the departments of medicine, surgery, molecular and medical pharmacology. He also serves as the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA, which brings together the nation’s leading cancer centers to maximize the potential of cancer immunotherapy research by building strong collaborations between researchers, nonprofits and industry, who are all working together to get new treatments to patients faster.

“Not only is Dr. Ribas is an extraordinary physician and scientist, but he’s an amazing leader and mentor to the next generation of oncologists and cancer researchers,” said Dr. Michael Teitell, director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “His pioneering work in immunotherapy is invaluable. I know he will play a pivotal role in advancing AACR’s legacy of accelerating high-quality, innovative cancer research to help find better treatments for patients diagnosed with cancer.”
Ribas became a member of AACR in 1999, and has been actively engaged in leadership roles since 2014, most recently as a member of the Board of Directors and the Vice Chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee for the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference. He is also the co-chair of AACR’s Combination Therapies Think Tank and the scientific editor of Cancer Discovery, one of AACR’s peer-reviewed journals that publishes major advances in cancer research and clinical trials.
Ribas has previously received several national and international awards and grants, including the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology; the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award; an Outstanding Investigator Award from National Cancer Institute; was an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation; has a doctor honoris causa from the University of Buenos Aires and is a recipient of the Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award and Lectureship from the American Academy of Dermatology.

https://cancer.ucla.edu/Home/Components/News/News/1278/1631

Prof. Maria Rescigno

Prof. Maria Rescigno

Full Professor of General Pathology, Humanitas University
Deputy Rector with responsibility for research, Humanitas University

Group Leader Mucosal immunology and microbiota Unit – Humanitas Research Hospital

Academic Background and Education

Maria Rescigno graduated in Biology in 1990 at the University of Milan.
From 1991 to 1994 she worked at the University of Cambridge, UK, in the Department of Biochemistry, as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1999, she worked at the National Research Council of Milan where she received her PhD in Pharmacology and toxicology in 1999.
From 1999 to 2001 she worked at the University of Milano-Bicocca where she specialized in Applied Biotechnology.
From 2001 to 2017 she was the director of the Dendritic cell biology and immunotherapy Unit at the Department of Experimental Oncology at the European Institute of oncology. She authored more than 130 publications.
In 2008-2013 she was visiting professor at the University of Oslo.
In 2016 Maria Rescigno founded Postbiotica a microbiota start-up.

Scientific and Research Interests

The lab major field of interest is mucosal immunology and in particular the interaction between host and microbes at mucosal sites. She was the first to show that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut, and that the local microenvironment dictates immune homeostasis. She also discovered the existence in the intestine of a vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier and that restrains bacteria from entering the blood stream and disseminate systemically. Another field of interest is the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies based on bacteria as immunostimulators. She has shown that bacteria can drive the establishment of gap junctions between tumor cells and immune cells for an efficient priming of anti-tumor immunity. She also developed tumor-specific bacteria that act as intelligent missiles to kill only tumor cells.

Prof. Olivier Michielin



Prof. Olivier Michielin

Full Professor Department of oncology UNIL CHUV

MD-PhD, Full Professor UNIL/CHUV, Director of the Center for Precision Oncology and Head of Melanoma Unit in the Oncology Department of the CHUV, Lausanne Prof. Olivier Michielin obtained a diploma of Physics in 1991 at the EPFL and an MD from the University of Lausanne in 1997. He pursued his PhD training under the supervision of Jean-Charles Cerottini (LICR) and Martin Karplus (Harvard and Strasbourg Universities, Nobel Prize in Chemistry). He was appointed Group Leader of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in 2002 and became an Assistant Professor and Privat Docent at the Medical Faculty of Lausanne in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In parallel, he has trained as a medical oncologist and obtained his board certification in 2007 at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center (CePO) of Lausanne where he is currently in charge of the melanoma clinic and the Center for Precision Oncology. He is mainly focused on translational oncology, developing new molecularly defined therapeutic approaches based on original in silico techniques developed in his laboratory. More recently, he has also focused on precision oncology. Research interest Prof. Olivier Michielin and his team’s main research focus is translational and personalized oncology. Their aim is to make use of all available –omics data to guide treatment decisions for all oncology patients. They are developing a baseline and on treatment predictive biomarkers in order to determine the optimal treatment sequences. In addition, structure-based drug design and protein design are two important pillars of the translational activity. Personalized oncology Selecting the best treatment option for patients based on large –omics data sets requires cutting edge machine learning algorithms. They are actively developing methodologies to provide interpretable machine learning results that pinpoint to the essential aspects leading to the proposed classification by the algorithm. Some of these developments are conducted in collaboration with the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) of the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL). Structure-based drug design As part of a long-lasting interest of their group in structure-based drug design, they are pursuing several projects to design high-affinity small molecule inhibitors for important targets in oncology and, most importantly, immuno-oncology. Current projects include IDO for which several nano-molar compounds have been generated as well as STING. Prof. Olivier Michelin’s equip program starts with computer-aided drug design, organic synthesis, soluble and cellular tests, all the way to proof of concept studies in mouse models. Their algorithms are now being used for personalized oncology, where the impact of somatic mutations on specific targeted therapies is evaluated. Recently, they have launched the Swiss Personalized Oncology project that aims at providing a seamless web interface to access these tools for the clinicians making decisions within molecular tumor-boards. Structure-based protein design Structure-based protein design has also been a strong interest of our group. They use molecular dynamics and free energy simulations to study key proteins like the TCR-Peptide-MHC complex and to improve relevant biological properties such as the on-rate, off-rate or the affinity. Since their approach is based on the laws of physics, its universal nature allows direct application to other proteins or complexes of interest like, for example, signaling domains. They are now using these methods for personalized oncology by studying the structural conformation of neo-antigens presented within the MHC context or the structural TCR repertoire selected against such neo- antigens.

Prof. Antoni Ribas

Prof. Antoni Ribas


Prof. Antoni Ribas, a renowned physician-scientist and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been named the 2019-2020 President-Elect for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He will officially become President-Elect on April 1st during the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting in Atlanta and will assume the presidency at the 2020 AACR Annual Meeting.

As director of the tumor immunology program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ribas has helped lead the development of new therapies for malignant melanoma, for which few effective therapies exist.
Ribas is known for his work in immunology and understanding how the immune system can effectively be used to fight cancer in order to develop more effective and less toxic therapies for people with cancer. He led the clinical program that demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug pembrolizumab, which has been a significant advancement in the treatment of melanoma. This was the first of the class of PD-1 blocking antibodies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of any cancer. Dr. Ribas and his laboratory continue to develop new immunotherapies for this disease.

“It is a great honor to be elected by my peers as the President-Elect of AACR,” Ribas said. “In this time of remarkable and rapid advancement in our understanding of cancer we have made great strides at improving treatments, but it is not enough. I believe AACR has to continue to advocate for public policy and funding to support cancer research and the development of new treatments, which is the best investment we can make in our futures. I look forward to working with researchers, clinicians, policymakers, patient advocates, caregivers and patients to pursue the common goal of defeating cancer.”

Born in Barcelona, Spain, Ribas attended the University of Barcelona, where he earned both his medical and doctoral degrees before coming to UCLA in 1996. Now, more than 20 years later, the physician-scientist has made UCLA his second home. He is a member of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and a full professor in the departments of medicine, surgery, molecular and medical pharmacology. He also serves as the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA, which brings together the nation’s leading cancer centers to maximize the potential of cancer immunotherapy research by building strong collaborations between researchers, nonprofits and industry, who are all working together to get new treatments to patients faster.

“Not only is Dr. Ribas is an extraordinary physician and scientist, but he’s an amazing leader and mentor to the next generation of oncologists and cancer researchers,” said Dr. Michael Teitell, director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “His pioneering work in immunotherapy is invaluable. I know he will play a pivotal role in advancing AACR’s legacy of accelerating high-quality, innovative cancer research to help find better treatments for patients diagnosed with cancer.”
Ribas became a member of AACR in 1999, and has been actively engaged in leadership roles since 2014, most recently as a member of the Board of Directors and the Vice Chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee for the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference. He is also the co-chair of AACR’s Combination Therapies Think Tank and the scientific editor of Cancer Discovery, one of AACR’s peer-reviewed journals that publishes major advances in cancer research and clinical trials.
Ribas has previously received several national and international awards and grants, including the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology; the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award; an Outstanding Investigator Award from National Cancer Institute; was an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation; has a doctor honoris causa from the University of Buenos Aires and is a recipient of the Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award and Lectureship from the American Academy of Dermatology.

https://cancer.ucla.edu/Home/Components/News/News/1278/1631

Prof. Maria Rescigno

Prof. Maria Rescigno


Full Professor of General Pathology, Humanitas University
Deputy Rector with responsibility for research, Humanitas University
Group Leader Mucosal immunology and microbiota Unit – Humanitas Research Hospital

Academic Background and Education

Maria Rescigno graduated in Biology in 1990 at the University of Milan. From 1991 to 1994 she worked at the University of Cambridge, UK, in the Department of Biochemistry, as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1999, she worked at the National Research Council of Milan where she received her PhD in Pharmacology and toxicology in 1999. From 1999 to 2001 she worked at the University of Milano-Bicocca where she specialized in Applied Biotechnology. From 2001 to 2017 she was the director of the Dendritic cell biology and immunotherapy Unit at the Department of Experimental Oncology at the European Institute of oncology. She authored more than 130 publications. In 2008-2013 she was visiting professor at the University of Oslo. In 2016 Maria Rescigno founded Postbiotica a microbiota start-up.

Scientific and Research Interests

The lab major field of interest is mucosal immunology and in particular the interaction between host and microbes at mucosal sites. She was the first to show that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut, and that the local microenvironment dictates immune homeostasis. She also discovered the existence in the intestine of a vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier and that restrains bacteria from entering the blood stream and disseminate systemically. Another field of interest is the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies based on bacteria as immunostimulators. She has shown that bacteria can drive the establishment of gap junctions between tumor cells and immune cells for an efficient priming of anti-tumor immunity. She also developed tumor-specific bacteria that act as intelligent missiles to kill only tumor cells.

Prof. Dr. Olivier Michielin

Prof. Olivier Michielin

Full Professor
Department of oncology UNIL CHUVMD-PhD, Full Professor UNIL/CHUV, Director of the Center for Precision Oncology and Head of Melanoma Unit in the Oncology Department of the CHUV, Lausanne

Prof. Olivier Michielin obtained a diploma of Physics in 1991 at the EPFL and an MD from the University of Lausanne in 1997. He pursued his PhD training under the supervision of Jean-Charles Cerottini (LICR) and Martin Karplus (Harvard and Strasbourg Universities, Nobel Prize in Chemistry). He was appointed Group Leader of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in 2002 and became an Assistant Professor and Privat Docent at the Medical Faculty of Lausanne in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In parallel, he has trained as a medical oncologist and obtained his board certification in 2007 at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center (CePO) of Lausanne where he is currently in charge of the melanoma clinic and the Center for Precision Oncology.
He is mainly focused on translational oncology, developing new molecularly defined therapeutic approaches based on original in silico techniques developed in his laboratory. More recently, he has also focused on precision oncology.

Research interest

Prof. Olivier Michielin and his team main research focus is translational and personalized oncology. Their aim is to make use of all available –omics data to guide treatment decisions for all oncology patients. They are developing baseline and on treatment predictive biomarkers in order to determine the optimal treatment sequences. In addition, structure-based drug design and protein design are two important pillar of the translational activity.

Personalized oncology

Selecting the best treatment option for patients based on large –omics data sets require cutting edge machine learning algorithms. They are actively developing methodologies to provide interpretable machine learning results that pinpoint to the essential aspects leading to the proposed classification by the algorithm. Some of these developments are conducted in collaboration with the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) of the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL).

Structure-based drug design

As part of a long-lasting interest of their group in structure based drug design, they are pursuing several projects to design high affinity small molecule inhibitors for important targets in oncology and, most importantly, immuno-oncology. Current projects include IDO for which several nano-molar compounds have been generated as well as STING. Prof. Olivier Michelin’s equip program starts with computer aided drug design, organic synthesis, soluble and cellular tests, all the way to proof of concept studies in mouse models.
Their algorithms are now being used for personalized oncology, where the impact of somatic mutations on specific targeted therapies is evaluated. Recently, they have launched the Swiss Personalized Oncology project that aims at providing a seamless web interface to access these tools for the clinicians making decisions within molecular tumor-boards.

Structure-based protein design

Structure-based protein design has also been a strong interest of our group. They use molecular dynamics and free energy simulations to study key proteins like the TCR-Peptide-MHC complex and to improve relevant biological properties such as the on-rate, off-rate or the affinity. Since their approach is based on the laws of physics, its universal nature allows direct application to other proteins or complexes of interest like, for example, signaling domains.
They are now using these methods for personalized oncology by studying the structural conformation of neo-antigens presented within the MHC context or the structural TCR repertoire selected against such neo-antigens.

The founders

We are the family and friends of Alan Ghitis, who valiantly fought but lost at the age of 40 the battle against melanoma skin cancer. We wish to continue his fight so that others may have a better chance. We hope you will join us in this fight.

We are the family and friends of Alan Ghitis, who valiantly fought but lost at the age of 40 the battle against melanoma skin cancer. We wish to continue his fight so that others may have a better chance. We hope you will join us in this fight.
Sarah Ghitis

My name is Sarah Ghitis. In memory of my beloved husband, I would like to share a few words about him with all of you. Alan was one of the most inspiring, loving, caring, wholehearted and profound people I have ever met. He stood out from the crowd. He was successful in every aspect of life. He enjoyed it to the fullest: he had an outstanding career, he loved his friends and family more than anyone I know, he was funny, witty and confident, he was loyal and fair, he loved to travel and widen his horizon, no challenge was too scary, new adventures and change was absolutely necessary, he was adored by so many and most definitely far from ordinary. he was unique!!!

I feel so lucky that I had the privilege to spend part of my life with him and eventually become his wife. He was the best husband I could have ever wished for and although it was way too short we managed to build memories that could fill a lifetime! I am so grateful for every second and for the people he brought into my life who I can call my family now. I want to thank all of you for being there and I want to encourage you all to keep his memory alive and in your heart!

I want us to think about him and smile and I want him to make a difference in people’s lives even now that he is not with us anymore. Therefore we created this association in his name so that his spirit will continue to spread hope, fight this terrible illness and support people less privileged than him.
Together we can make a difference!

I am thanking each one of you in advance to be part of this mission and to keep the memory and willpower of my beloved husband alive. Because I know that’s what he wanted!

With all my love,

Sarah Ghitis

Francesco Recrosio

I met Alan at the French school in Milan in 92. I had been attending that school since kindergarten while he had just moved from Brazil.
I still remember the first time we spoke because he had brought a funny accent from Brazil that he lost in no time. Instead, he did not lose his ability to make me laugh like no other and therefore in a very short time we became best friends.
We were 14 and at that age, we have many first experiences and we discover so many things in life and I and Alan have lived so many of those things together.
Alan was the most cheerful person I knew, his presence and his joy were enough to contaminate everyone around him. He always managed to keep the child inside him alive which manifested itself in an exaggerated zest for life!
After high school, we went to study in different cities, Alan in London while I in Paris. I remember that the day before we left we said goodbye with tears in our eyes, reassuring each other that the distance would not change anything in our friendship, we were now brothers.
And it was just like that …until the end.
Apart from is sunny personality Alan also showed me strength, courage and dignity during his illness that have left me astonished.
He never complained, he never cried and he unbelievably never lost his ability to appreciate every little joy in life.
I had the immense pain to see him taken away from a terrible illness but above all, I had the great honor of being able to stand by his side during this very bad time.
For this reason, I could not be more proud to be part of this association in his memory with the will to contribute to defeating this terrible disease and the pain that it sows.

Niky Levi Ghitis (Chairman)

July 2017 … Pure joy. With mamy

 

Urbano Clerici


I have met Alan 25 years ago, in the French School of Milan and since then Alan has been a pillar in my life. Rarely do we meet people so true to themselves, true to their belief, to their friendship, to their love, and without any filter, just sharing it with the world. In a few words, he was a constant true lover of life, a daily inspiration to me and to so many more.

I really feel thankful and would like to give back for the gift that Alan is to me.
I hope this Association will have the possibility to keep the memory of a great man whose time has been too short. A man who has achieved so much but yet had the intention to achieve so much more and reach out to so many more.
The progress in prevention and research in cancer have been so dramatic in the last years, that in our small reality we are eager to contribute in increasing awareness (give the correct recommendation and support) as well as promote the investments in research that will very soon get this terrible disease curable.

Urbano Clerici, born in Sorengo (Switzerland) in 1978, married with three children. Chairman and CEO of Coeclerici Commodities.

Billy Ghitis (Chairman)

“When my son looks up at me and breaks into his wonderful smile, my eyes fill up and I know that having him is the best thing I will ever do.”

Dan Greenburg, American writer

Sarah Ghitis

My name is Sarah Ghitis. In memory of my beloved husband, I would like to share a few words about him with all of you. Alan was one of the most inspiring, loving, caring, wholehearted and profound people I have ever met. He stood out from the crowd. He was successful in every aspect of life. He enjoyed it to the fullest: he had an outstanding career, he loved his friends and family more than anyone I know, he was funny, witty and confident, he was loyal and fair, he loved to travel and widen his horizon, no challenge was too scary, new adventures and change was absolutely necessary, he was adored by so many and most definitely far from ordinary. he was unique!!!

I feel so lucky that I had the privilege to spend part of my life with him and eventually become his wife. He was the best husband I could have ever wished for and although it was way too short we managed to build memories that could fill a lifetime! I am so grateful for every second and for the people he brought into my life who I can call my family now. I want to thank all of you for being there and I want to encourage you all to keep his memory alive and in your heart!

I want us to think about him and smile and I want him to make a difference in people’s lives even now that he is not with us anymore. Therefore we created this association in his name so that his spirit will continue to spread hope, fight this terrible illness and support people less privileged than him.
Together we can make a difference!

I am thanking each one of you in advance to be part of this mission and to keep the memory and willpower of my beloved husband alive. Because I know that’s what he wanted!

With all my love,

Sarah Ghitis

Urbano Clerici


I have met Alan 25 years ago, in the French School of Milan and since then Alan has been a pillar in my life. Rarely do we meet people so true to themselves, true to their belief, to their friendship, to their love, and without any filter, just sharing it with the world. In a few words, he was a constant true lover of life, a daily inspiration to me and to so many more.

I really feel thankful and would like to give back for the gift that Alan is to me.
I hope this Association will have the possibility to keep the memory of a great man whose time has been too short. A man who has achieved so much but yet had the intention to achieve so much more and reach out to so many more.
The progress in prevention and research in cancer have been so dramatic in the last years, that in our small reality we are eager to contribute in increasing awareness (give the correct recommendation and support) as well as promote the investments in research that will very soon get this terrible disease curable.

Urbano Clerici, born in Sorengo (Switzerland) in 1978, married with three children. Chairman and CEO of Coeclerici Commodities.

Francesco Recrosio

I met Alan at the French school in Milan in 92. I had been attending that school since kindergarten while he had just moved from Brazil.
I still remember the first time we spoke because he had brought a funny accent from Brazil that he lost in no time. Instead, he did not lose his ability to make me laugh like no other and therefore in a very short time we became best friends.
We were 14 and at that age, we have many first experiences and we discover so many things in life and I and Alan have lived so many of those things together.
Alan was the most cheerful person I knew, his presence and his joy were enough to contaminate everyone around him. He always managed to keep the child inside him alive which manifested itself in an exaggerated zest for life!
After high school, we went to study in different cities, Alan in London while I in Paris. I remember that the day before we left we said goodbye with tears in our eyes, reassuring each other that the distance would not change anything in our friendship, we were now brothers.
And it was just like that …until the end.
Apart from is sunny personality Alan also showed me strength, courage and dignity during his illness that have left me astonished.
He never complained, he never cried and he unbelievably never lost his ability to appreciate every little joy in life.
I had the immense pain to see him taken away from a terrible illness but above all, I had the great honor of being able to stand by his side during this very bad time.
For this reason, I could not be more proud to be part of this association in his memory with the will to contribute to defeating this terrible disease and the pain that it sows.

Niky Levi Ghitis (Chairman)

July 2017 … Pure joy. With mamy

 

Billy Ghitis (Chairman)

 

“When my son looks up at me and breaks into his wonderful smile, my eyes fill up and I know that having him is the best thing I will ever do.”

Dan Greenburg, American writer

 

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