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The professor Gino Schilirò'

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He has dedicated his life to children suffering from leukemia

Gino Schilirò

Gino Schilirò, university professor, illustrious and worldly known pediatrician, was born in Bronte in 1936.

He studied at the Real Capizzi College where he obtained his school-leaving certificate getting afterwards his honorary degree of surgeon at Catania’s university.

He continued his formation abroad, working and studying for a long time at the Genetic department of the Columbia University at New York (USA).

Back in Sicily he started a prestigious career of pediatrician that brought him very soon to become Director of university department of pediatrics in Catania and director of the centre of regional reference of Hematology and pediatric oncology of Catania’s university, that, under his guidance ha become a centre of very high scientific value.

In August 2003, for the first time in Sicily, in the centre direct by Gino Schilirò, was performed the first transplant of umbilical cordon on a young girl affected by a grave case of leukemia.

The same centre, in 2005 was included in the “special project” devised by AIRC - that sees the best of Italian pediatric oncology committed in the great challenge to defeat for ever the children’s pediatric tumors – with a particularly demanding task: “to study in depth children’s leukemia above all for what regards the gene “MLL” that is responsible of it, evaluating the results of treatments and directing the results obtained by all others research centers”.

Gino Schilirò is also part of the study group Health World Organization for ‘hemoglobinopaty’; National coordinator of the Project «controlled Therapeutic experimentations in children’s tumors» of the national council of research; National president of the Italian association of hematology and pediatric oncology (AIEOP).

At the present is a consultant to the superior Health Council, a component of the Regional Oncology Commission, referee for accrediting courses of continues education in Medicine. Has been also asked to be part of prestigious  National and International Scientific Societies: Italian Society of Pediatric deceases, Italian Society of Human Genetics, Italian Society of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology, Study Group for Erythrocytes, American Federation for Clinical Research-Interna­tional Association of Human Biologists, New York Academy of Sciences,  European Society for Pediatric Hematology and Im­munology.

His demanding charity work and scientific research, the abnegation and the humanitarian spirit that he shows with the unwell children and their parents, have also had due and ample recognition.

Were conferred to him:

  the ”Premium XXIV Casali” for Pediatric disorders – Bronte 1988, with the following caption: “For the in depth study in the hematological field with particular regard to children’s leukemia where have been reported flattering results of clinic recovery”. 

  the “Premium Andrea Creati” for Pediatric Oncology (Giarre).

  the “Premium city of Mascalucia” for Pediatric Oncology;

  the title of Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary International.

The city of Lentini in 1999 conferred to him the Honorary Citizenship «for the high humanitarian scientific contribute given to research and to the battle against children’s tumors and for having represented a touchable presence in their suffering».

His researches concerning arguments of hematology, immunology and pediatric onco­logy have appeared in several interna­tional and authoritative magazines (Nature, Cell, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, The Lancet, Blood, New Engl. J. Of Medicine, etc…).

In the field of scientific research, professor Gino Schilirò has identified two new hemoglobin of which, in honor of our city has called Hemoglobin Bronte (Hemoglobin vol. 27 n° 3 page. 149, 2003) and an enzymatic variant that he called Glo-Sicily (Amer J. Hum. Genet. Vol. 35 page. 1042, 1983)

The Hemoglobin Bronte

Gino Schilirò has identified two new hemoglobin of which, in honour of our city has called Hemoglobin Bronte (Hemoglobin vol. 27 n° 3 page. 149, 2003) and an enzymatic variant that he called Glo-Sicily (Amer J. Hum. Genet. Vol. 35 page. 1042, 1983).

Photo on the left: Professor Schilirò in a paediatric ward with Mons. Cri­stina, Catania’s archbishop. Right photo: Premium XXIV Casali 1988, Nun­zio Meli hands over the premium for pediatrics to professor Gino Schilirò «For in-depth studies in hematology with particular regard to children’s leukemia where has achieved alluring results with clinic recoveries».

Rome, 8 October 2010: Prof. Gino Schilirò with the President of the Republic Giorgio Napoli­ta­no on the occasion of the reception at the Quirinale of AIRC (Italian Association of Cancer Research) researchers. In December 2009 the President of the Republic himself, in consi­de­ration of particular merits, awarded Prof. Gino Schilirò the honor of Commendatore.

Strongly motivated, in bringing forward a project of hope for many children with tumors, Gino Schilirò is also one of the founders of the Ibiscus Association, an initiative started in 1986 to raise funds for the realization of a day hospital and of a house-hotel for the parents of the children subject to oncology therapies.

The Association (League for the research and treatment of the child’s leukemia and tumors) collabo­rates with the public structure to alleviate the young patients suffering, improve their life’s conditions and clinic approach and grant immediate answers, things that the public health system is not capable of doing.

A benevolent health institute strongly wanted by Gino Schilirò director of the ward that receives many children afflicted by tumors, coming from all of Italy.

La casa IbiscusAfter nearly twenty years, “Ibiscus” has reached important results: has created wards equipped with room service in comfortably furnished single rooms planned to alleviate the psycho-functional state of the young patients, with teachers, play ground, day nursery.

In 2004, thanks to the people help, has started to build alongside the Polyclinic a reception house to hearten the stay of the parents of Sicilian children afflicted by leukemia and tumors.

The “Ibiscus House”, wanted by professor Schilirò, who has been fighting for twenty years against the bureaucratic dullness and the indifference of some institutions, together with parents, doctors and nurses tired of having to say “it isn’t my fault”, was inaugurated in April 2006.

La casa Ibiscus, interno«After ten years of fighting for a dream that seemed utopian – profes­sor Schilirò said – is born the “Ibiscus House” for the parents of the sick young patients.
The nicest goal is to see so many children, now grown up, who have won the most difficult battle of their life, but even more we feel amongst us the children who lost their battle.

Hibiscus has contributed decisively for the generosity of so many people, even the humble ones to whom go our thanks and the invite to ascertain as their support has been used. They can say with pride “I also have done this”.»

Reparto di Ematologia ed Oncologia del Policlinico

Three Ministers of Health said:

"The Catania's Center of Oncology, Hema­to­logy and Pediatric is certainly one of the excellences that operate in Italy"
(Prof. Elio Guzzanti)

"I saw a beautiful page of Health: Thanks to good research, good training and a fruitful relationship between the institutions and volunteering"
(Mrs Rosy Bindi)

"If Italy decides to invest  creating centers of excellence where to focus its scientific talent, strengthen the better schools and organize  research and referral service (of 3rd level)", getting back  the many great Ita­lians who work  abroad, and putting them in partner­ships with private compa­nies, I think we would have  here, with Schi­lirò, a nucleus in which to invest"
(Prof. Girolamo Sirchia)

ITALIAN VERSIONTranslated by Sam Di Bella


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