Area 5

Diagnosis and therapy in oncology

Team leader

Strategic objectives

Development of techniques for improving the diagnosis, prognostic evaluation and treatment response assessment in oncological patients.

  • Development and application of new therapies in oncology

Main lines of research

  1. Molecular studies in embryonic and tumor cells: applications to pharmacogenomics. Two types of studies are carried out: one type analyzes and compares microRNA patterns in embryonic and tumor tissues, and the other uses allelic discrimination to analyze polymorphic profiles (SNPs) in oncological patients, with a view to selecting more specific treatments.
  2. Effects of synchrotron radiation upon the neoplastic cell. In this study, which is carried out jointly with Barcelona Autonomous University (UAB), comparison is made of the biological action of synchrotron radiation (currently the Grenoble system until the UAB Alba unit comes into operation) with conventional X-rays used in radiotherapy. The cell-sensitizing effectiveness of gold nanoparticles and cisplatin is also studied.
  3. Breast cancer imaging diagnosis. Two types of studies are carried out. One type of study uses 10G needle biopsies to improve the presurgical diagnosis of breast tumors, particularly in application to those with microcalcifications. The aim is to minimize the number of surgical biopsies required for establishing the diagnosis. The other type of study assesses the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer based on breast MRI evaluation.
  4. Application of functional mRI techniques in oncology. Studies of perfusion, diffusion and spectroscopy applied to the staging and monitoring of brain and head and neck tumours treatment.
  5. Scintigraphic detection of the sentinel node and introduction of hybrid tracers in radioguided surgery. Lymphogammagraphy and posterior use of an external detection probe during surgery serves to identify and remove the sentinel node. This technique makes it possible to avoid 75% of all unnecessary lymphadenectomies. The use of a portable gammacamera during surgery offers additional advantages. The development and introduction of hybrid tracers (radiotracer+fluorescence) will be useful to improve radioguided surgery results.
  6. Application of positron emission tomography (PET-CT) in oncology. PET studies are made for the staging and control of treatment response in different types of tumors, including lymphomas, breast cancer and digestive tract lesions. We plan to use an intraoperative PET probe to improve the detection of tumor lesions.