Mariangela Garofalo

Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences,

University of Padova
Via F. Marzolo 5, 35131 Padova - Italy

Position: Assistant Professor (RTD B) SSD CHIM/09

phone: +39-049-827-5710

fax:  +39-049-827-5366

ORCID ID 0000-0002-5001-7826

  Short cv

Mariangela Garofalo received a Master Degree, summa cum laude, in Medical Biotechnology in 2011 at the University Federico II of Naples and a PhD in Biomedicine, in co-supervision University of Naples - University of Helsinki in 2015. During her PhD she moved to Finland where she spent 2 years as visiting student finalizing her PhD thesis in the ImmunoVirotherapy Lab at the Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki (2013-2015). From 2015 to 2017 she carried out her post-doctoral research at the Faculty of Pharmacy (University of Helsinki), after that, she worked as post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology at the University of Milan (2017-2019) where she was involved in multidisciplinary research activities in collaboration with IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (INT). Dr. Garofalo joined the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences at University of Padua in July 2019


  Office hours

To be agreed by email

  Availability for Thesis Projects

Thesis projects are available within the research area of cancer drug delivery. For further information please set up an appointment by email

  Scientific Activities

Oncolytic virotherapy is emerging as a potential approach to treat cancer by using viruses, which are specifically engineered to preferentially infect, replicate in and kill cancer cells instead of normal cells. Currently, this therapy requires the intratumoral administration of the viruses, which is restricting its application to injectable lesions. Ideally, the possibility to systemically deliver tumor-tropic oncolytic viruses would provide a chance of reaching even small metastases localized throughout the body. However, systemic administration is limited by the presence of neutralizing antibodies resulting in a decreased efficacy. Therefore, my research interests aim to overcome this limitation by using extracellular vesicles for the systemic delivery of therapeutic oncolytic viruses and drugs. The final aim is to design and evaluate antineoplastic properties of extracellular vesicles loaded with therapeutic agents in order enhance their clinical efficacy in vitro and in vivo. The projects deal with the definition of tools and techniques to develop drug delivery systems using extracellular vesicles and oncolytic viruses, their biopharmaceutical characterisation and in vivo preclinical studies.

So far, my research has been focused on:

  •  Oncolytic viruses as novel carriers in combination with peptides and chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Extracellular vesicles loaded with therapeutic agents and fluorescent markers. This strategy allows to insulate the delivered agents, thus potentially preventing undesired off target effects associated with their systemic delivery.

  Technical expertise

  • Molecular Biology: DNA/RNA isolation, purification, PCR, ELISA, IFN-gamma ELISPOT, Immunocytochemistry staining (ICC)
  • Cellular analysis: tissue culture techniques (2D and 3D culture models)
  • Basic virology: adenovirus cloning, virus production and purification, PCR, ICC, TCID50, VP
  • Animal studies: immunodecificent, immunocompetent and humanized mice (work experience in a cleanroom and BSL-3 class lab)
  • Animal imaging systems: CCD-camera
  • Other tecniques: size and zeta-potential measurements, H&E staining


Polymer coated oncolytic adenovirus to selectively target hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Garofalo M., Bellato F., Magliocca S., Malfanti A., Kuryk L., Rinner B., Negro S., Salmaso S., Caliceti P., Mastrotto F.Pharmaceutics (2021),13, 949.

Combination therapy of novel oncolytic adenovirus with anti- pd1 resulted in enhanced anti-cancer effect in syngeneic immunocompetent melanoma mouse model. Garofalo M., L. Bertinato, M. Staniszewska, M. Wieczorek, S. Salmaso, S. Schrom, B. Rinner, K.W. Pancer, L. Kuryk. Pharmaceutics (2021), 13, 547

Transplantation of autologous extracellular vesicles for cancer-specific targeting. Villa A, Garofalo M, Crescenti D, N.Rizzi, E.Brunialti, A.Vingiani, P. Belotti, C.Sposito, S.Franzè, F.Cilurzo, G. Pruneri, C.Recordati, C.Giudice, A.Giordano, M. Tortoreto, D.Stefanello, G.Manenti, N.Zaffaroni, V.Mazzaferro, P.Ciana.  Theranostics (2021), 11:2034-2047

Heterologous and cross-species tropism of cancer derived extracellular vesicles. Garofalo M ,Villa A, Crescenti D, Marzagalli M, Kuryk L, Limonta P, Mazzaferro V, Ciana P. Theranostics 2019. Doi:10.7150/thno.34824

Extracellular vesicles enhance the targeted delivery of immunogenic oncolytic adenovirus in immunocompetent mice. Garofalo M, Villa A, Rizzi N, Kuryk L, Rinner B, CerulloV, YliperttulaM, MazzaferroV, CianaP. Journal of Controlled Release 2019,294:165-175

Systemic administration and targeted delivery of immunogenic oncolytic adenovirus encapsulated in extracellular vesicles for cancer therapies. Garofalo M, Villa A, Rizzi N, Kuryk L, Mazzaferro V, Ciana P. Viruses 2018, 10(10), 558

Antitumor effect of oncolytic virus and paclitaxel encapsulated in extracellular vesicles for lung cancer treatment. Garofalo M, Saari H, Somersalo P, Crescenti D, Kuryk L, Aksela L, Capasso C, Jalasvuori M, Cerullo V, Ciana P, Yliperttula M. Journal of Controlled Release 2018, 283:223-234.

Synergistic anti-tumor efficacy of immunogenic adenovirus ONCOS-102 (Ad5/3-D24-GM-CSF) and standard of care chemotherapy in preclinical mesothelioma model. Kuryk L, Haavisto E, Garofalo M, Capasso C, Hirvinen M, Pesonen S, Ranki T, Vassilev L, Cerullo V. International Journal of Cancer 2016, 139(8):1883-93

Oncolytic adenovirus loaded with L-carnosine as novel strategy to enhance the anti-tumor activity.  Garofalo M,, Iovine B, Kuryk L, Capasso C, Hirvinen M, Vitale A, Yliperttula M, Bevilacqua MA,  Cerullo. V. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2016, 15(4):651-60

Oncolytic adenoviruses coated with MHC-I tumor epitopes increase the antitumor immunity and efficacy against melanoma. Capasso C, Hirvinen M, Garofalo M, Romaniuk D, Kuryk L, Sarvela T, Vitale A, Antopolsky M, Magarkar A, Viitala T, Suutari T, Bunker A, Yliperttula M, Urtti A, Cerullo V. Oncoimmunology 2015,5(4):e1105429



1.CIANA P, GAROFALO M, VILLA AM, MAZZAFERRO V, MAGGI A UIBM, n. IT 102019000007785 filling date on 31/05/2019 2. CIANA P, GAROFALO M, VILLA AM, MAZZAFERRO V, MAGGI A. Extracellular Vesicles to deliver therapeutic or diagnostic drugs. PCT extension WO2020/240494 A1 filing date: 29/05/2020

  Research projects and Funds

  • STARS Starting Grant (STARS-StG) funded by University of Padua. Title: Targeting NRAS mutated melanoma via cancer immunotherapy. Role: Principal Investigator
  • PRIN grant funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). Title: EVs-like nanoparticles carrying oncolytic viruses as a novel platform for cancer treatment. Role: co-PI
  • PRID grant funded by the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (University of Padua). Title: 3D culture models for delivering immunotherapies towards advanced melanomas. Role: Principal Investigator
  • PRID-J grant funded by the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (University of Padua). Title: Extracellular vesicles as delivery carriers for therapeutic agents in mesothelioma treatment. Role: Principal Investigator
  • LIDER grant funded by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR). Title: Oncolytic adenoviruses in cancer therapy – PolTreatment. Role: Participant
  • SONATA grant funded by National Science Centre (NCN). Title: Development of novel anti-cancer immunotherapy against mesothelioma. Role: Participant