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The name "San Raffaele" originates from the Hebrew word Raf-el, which means "God’s medicine" or "God heals". The San Raffaele hospital is a private Scientific Institute, belonging to the San Raffaele del Monte Tabor Foundation, recognised by the Italian Ministry of Health as a Scientific Institute carrying out biomedical research and clinical activities of relevant national interest (IRCCS). According to the inspiring principles of its founding Organisation, the mission of the San Raffaele is to cure and assist diseased individuals, following the Gospel proposition: "Go, teach, heal". Such a mission is accomplished by focusing every aspect of the Institute’s activities on Man, viewed as an multifaceted entity endowed with inseparable biological, psychological and spiritual elements.

San Raffaele Institute is relentlessly pursuing its three interrelated lines of clinics, research and education since 1971 when it was established and represented one of the first examples of a fully independent private hospital in Italy. Shortly after its foundation San Raffaele was granted the status of IRCCS (Research Hospital), which favoured its development as a site for clinical research, originally specialized in diabetes and metabolic disorders.

In 1992 San Raffaele expanded further with the inauguration of DIBIT, a building dedicated to basic science, with a research space of about 12,000 square meters where at present 250 people are employed in basic, translational and clinical research, including scientists, technicians and administrative personnel, along with additional 300 fellows, consultants, trainees and graduate students. DIBIT is part of the largest biomedical science park in Italy, which includes San Raffaele Hospital with more than 1300 beds, Science Park Raf, created to support the Foundation’s development objectives, and the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele.

The University Vita-Salute San Raffaele was established in 1996 and now hosts the Faculties of Medicine, of Psychology and of Philosophy. Further, the teaching activities include, besides a whole range of Schools of Specialization in different medical branches, international Ph.D. programs in Cellular and Molecular Biology and in Molecular Medicine.

Within 2007, the DIBIT-2 project will expand almost three-fold the floor space devoted to research and will substantially increase and empower research in the different fields where San Raffaele has become highly renowned. Considering the interactions that DIBIT entails with San Raffaele Hospital, Science Park Raf and the University it is highly plausible to believe that in turn this expansion will allow to improve logistic and organization, to rationalize clinical activity, to catalyse industrial attention and to attract the best students.

Much effort and many resources have been invested in basic, preclinical and clinical research. Our scientific production continues to show quite an impressive progress in terms of both number of publications and overall quality. In 2006, 678 scientific papers were published, with a total impact factor of 3400. These figures confirm the Institute’s leading position in Italy, strongly support the ability to attract support from public (Ministry of Health, Superior Institute of Health, Ministry of University and Research, European Community, NIH and, for a small amount, CNR) and from private sources as well including charity foundations (mainly Telethon, the Italian Association for Cancer Research and Bank Foundations) and are the basis for the solid international reputation acquired over the years. Telethon is funding two research centers at San Raffaele: the San Raffaele-Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy of Genetic Disease (HSR-TIGET) which is pioneering the clinical application of gene transfer technology and the Stem Cell Research Institute (SCRI), which studies the biology and the potential clinical applications of stem cells, a field in which San Raffaele Institute is a world leader.

In the last few years the explosive development and diversification of biomedical technologies, by allowing impressive achievements such as the complete sequencing of the human genome, have revolutionized our approach to medical problems and radically modified the scientific scenario thereby opening the doors to a new type of medicine: “molecular medicine”. In the near future researchers’ efforts will be dedicated to the elucidation of the mechanisms of regulation and expression of different genes and the definition of the functions of their products, to the development of new diagnostic tools able to allow early and presymptomatic diagnosis and to the design of more appropriate, biologically-based and possibly individually-tailored therapeutic approaches.

San Raffaele Scientific Institute has championed from the very beginning this new type of medicine, whereby basic researchers, clinical investigators and physicians operate together to translate basic research into medical practice, which means to develop molecular endpoints in clinical material and use them to develop pilot studies or clinical trials with the goal of providing both acceleration of cure and optimisation of care. In 2001, San Raffaele Institute was acknowledged, by the Health Minister, as the IRCCS for Molecular Medicine.

Thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of scientists, physicians, students and of all the people working at San Raffaele, our new molecular medicine center will provide, in the immediate future, either new or less intrusive diagnostic and therapeutical approaches, ready to use within the public Italian health system.
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from Jan 2010 to present
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Scientific responsible
until Dec 2009
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Phone +39 02 26 431
Address Via Olgettina, 60
20132 Milano (Lombardia)

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