Ignazio Marino

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Ignazio Marino
Ignazio Marino - Festivaletteratura 2012 01.JPG
Marino in 2012
64th Mayor of Rome
In office
12 June 2013 – 31 October 2015
Preceded by Gianni Alemanno
Succeeded by Francesco Paolo Tronca
as Special Commissioner
Personal details
Born (1955-03-10) March 10, 1955 (age 61)
Genoa, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Profession Surgeon
Religion Catholicism[1]

Ignazio Roberto Maria Marino[2] (pronounced [iɲˈɲattsjo maˈriːno]; born 10 March 1955, Genoa) is an Italian transplant surgeon and former Mayor of Rome.

He is a member of the centre-left Democratic Party and held a seat in the Italian Senate from 2006 until his election as mayor of Rome. He was elected Mayor of Rome in June 2013. On 12 October 2015, Marino resigned from the Office of Mayor amidst an expense scandal, but on 29 October he retired the resignation.[3] Nevertheless, on 30 October he was ousted from his position after 26 of the 48 members of the City Council resigned.

As a surgeon, he trained with Thomas Starzl, who had pioneered liver transplantion in humans. In 1992–1993, as a member of Starzl's team at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, he helped conduct two baboon-to-human liver transplants. He was instrumental in setting up the ISMETT liver transplant centre in Palermo, Sicily, which was founded in 1997. In 2001 he performed the first organ transplant in Italy for a person with HIV. In the United States he has held chairs as Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Early life and education[edit]

Marino was born in Genoa to a Sicilian father and is the oldest of three children (he has two sisters). He graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome. He then trained at the Transplant Center of the University of Cambridge and the University of Pittsburgh's Starzl Transplantation Institute, under the guidance of Thomas Starzl, the pioneer surgeon who performed the first liver transplant in humans in 1963.

Medical career[edit]

In 1992 he was appointed Associate Director of the National Liver Transplant Center of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Pittsburgh, the only organ transplant department of the Government of the United States. He was a member of the surgical team which in June 1992 and January 1993 performed two baboon-to-human liver xenotransplants in a clinical trial coordinated by Starzl.[4][n 1]

He was instrumental in setting up Palermo's ISMETT (Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies), the first liver transplant centre in Sicily, founded in 1997 thanks to a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Italian Government. He has been a Director and CEO of the institute.

In 2001 he performed the first organ transplant in Italy on a person with HIV undergoing highly active antiretroviral therapy—a kidney transplant made in response to a personal request from the patient himself (along with the donor, his father), who had been turned down by other Italian transplant centres.[5] A clinical success, the operation sparked an institutional dispute in Italy at the time.[n 2]

In 2002 he left his position as Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and accepted a post as Professor of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. To this end, he resigned from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, although polemics were raised over the circumstances of Dr. Marino's departure. Some Italian newspapers published that the reason for departure was related to some expense reimbursement requests, but Dr. Marino won several lawsuits against said newspapers, including Il Foglio (judgment n. 9934/12 of 14/9/2012, Milan Court) that in July 2009 had also published a statement by UPMC spokesman Paul Woods .[9] Statements included in the articles were declared by the Court “not true”, “not corresponding to factual reality." For having published a piece of news that was “false and injurious to Dr. Marino,” the Court condemned the journalists Giuliano Ferrara, Maurizio Belpietro, Mario Giordano, Vittorio Feltri, Franco Bechis, Paolo Granzotto, among others, and the newspapers Il Foglio, Libero, Il Giornale and Italia Oggi to pay Marino a total of Euro 90,000, beyond Euro 12,000 of legal expenses (for a total of Euro 102,000).

Marino has personally performed over 650 transplants. He is a byline author of over 170 peer-review articles and has authored three scientific books. In 2005 he published a book with Einaudi ("Le Vele" series) entitled Credere e curare ("Treating and Believing"); the book deals with the medical profession and the influence that faith, seen as a religious creed but also as compassion, solidarity and empathy towards all human beings, has upon it. In 2005 he founded Imagine ONLUS, an international non-profit organisation engaged in international solidarity activities with special regard to health issues. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Transplantation, Liver Transplantation, Clinical Transplantation and 9 other international scientific journals.

Political career[edit]

Entry into politics[edit]

A good friend of Massimo D'Alema, Marino was persuaded by him to enter into politics as an independent candidate with the Democrats of the Left in the 2006 general elections, and was elected as a Senator; he has been the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health since 6 June 2006.

Following the fall of Romano Prodi's government and an early election held in 2008, he was confirmed in the Senate, where he was appointed whip of the Democratic Party in the Standing Committee on Health and Chair of the Investigative Committee on the National Health Care System. In his second tenure as a Senator, Marino gained public exposure due to his strong support for right to die and a clear advance health care directive law during the dramatic final days of Eluana Englaro, which caused widespread debate and a constitutional crisis within Italy. Following such events, Marino has become recognizable in Italian politics as a strong advocate of a lay country, gaining vocal support from left-wing parties and the Italian Radicals, but also being criticized by socially conservative politicians also within the Democratic Party, such as Paola Binetti.

In June 2009 he publicly announced his intention to run as a candidate for the Democratic Party leadership election in October. His leadership election platform was mostly focused on social rights, public health and environmentalism. He came third in the election, winning 12.5% of the votes.

Mayor of Rome[edit]

Marino ran the 2013 election for Mayor of Rome with the support of a centre-left alliance. After leading in the first round[10] he was elected (on 10 June) Mayor of Rome at the second ballot, winning 63.9% of the votes in a run-off against the centre-right candidate, the incumbent mayor Gianni Alemanno.[11]

Among Marino's projects has been the controversial opening of the Via dei Fori Imperiali to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Mayor Marino cited his experiences as a cyclist in Philadelphia as the foundation for his having learned to live without a car.[12]

Shortly after his victory in the elections he was approached by an organised crime network which rigged public contracts and embezzled funds. Marino took the case to prosecutors, starting the 2014 Rome corruption scandal.

On 12 October 2015, Marino resigned amidst an expense scandal, but on 29 October he retired the resignation. Nevertheless, on 30 October he was ousted from his position after 26 of the 48 members of the City Council resigned. He was replaced by a government-appointed commissioner.[13]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Although partially successful on purely technical grounds, this novel approach to the treatment of terminal cirrhosis from chronic hepatitis B infection turned out to be a clinical dead end. These were the first xenotransplants (i.e. animal-to-human organ transplants) to be performed since the case of Baby Fae (a 2.2 kg newborn infant who had survived just 21 days after receiving a baboon heart in 1984). Despite their different size, baboons share many of the physiological and genetic characteristics of human beings, but are resistant to chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Both transplanted patients had terminal liver failure due to hepatitis B. One, an HIV-positive 35-year-old man, lived 70 days after the transplant and maintained nearly normal liver function, the other, a 62-year-old man, survived 26 days without regaining consciousness.[4] This clinical strategy was not pursued. In addition to clinical problems, such as organ rejection, there exists a threat of possible cross-species transmission of disease, as well as other bioethical/animalist concerns. At the time, these two xenotransplants provoked heated controversy in this regard.
  2. ^ The Minister of Health, Girolamo Sirchia, publicly criticized Marino for undertaking the operation,[5] and the National Transplant Centre (CNT) advised him not to perform any further transplants on people with HIV.[6] This stance conflicted with the opinion of the president of the bioethics panel of the National Research Council who openly supported Marino's decision, as well as with views expressed by (among others) the president of the National Bioethics Committee, Giovanni Berlinguer, who argued that people with HIV should not be excluded a priori from the benefits of transplantation.[6] Nowadays, similar transplants are routinely conducted both in Italy and elsewhere.[7][8]
  1. ^ "When Does Life Begin? Cardinal Martini Replies". L'Espresso. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Senatori Eletti (Italia ed Estero)" (PDF). Elenco alfabetico degli eletti nella XVII legislatura. Senato della Repubblica. 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/08/rome-mayor-resigns-amid-expenses-scandal-ignazio-marino
  4. ^ a b Starzl, TE; Murase, N; Tzakis, A; Fung, JJ; Todo, S; Demetris, AJ; Manez, R; Marino, IR; Valdivia, L (August 1994). "Clinical xenotransplantation.". Xenotransplantation. 1 (1): 3–7. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3089.1994.tb00044.x. PMC 3000172free to read. PMID 21151801. 
  5. ^ a b "Primo trapianto in Italia a un sieropositivo". La Repubblica (in Italian). 28 August 2001. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Criscenti, Gianfranco (6 October 2001). "L'Hiv esclude il trapianto?". Galileo - giornale di scienza (in Italian). Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Bossini, N; Sandrini, S; Valerio, F (July–August 2012). "[Kidney transplant in patients with HIV infection]". Giornale italiano di nefrologia: organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di nefrologia (in Italian and English). 29 (4): 404–17. PMID 22843153. 
  8. ^ Norman, SP; Kommareddi, M; Kaul, DR (July–September 2012). "Update on kidney transplantation in HIV-infected recipients". AIDS reviews. 14 (3): 195–207. PMID 22833063. 
  9. ^ "Ecco la lettera con cui Pittsburgh smonta punto per punto la versione di Ignazio Marino". Il Foglio (in Italian). 28 July 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Election setback for Grillo protest party in Italy". BBC News. 28 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Elezioni Comunali 2013, Liste e risultati: Roma". La Repubblica. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  12. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2013-12-18/news/45298798_1_ignazio-marino-via-dei-fori-imperiali-schwinn
  13. ^ "The Holy See cracks down on leaks about its scandalous finances". The Economist. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.