Area 5

Molecular and translational oncology

Team leader

Strategic objectives

The strategic objectives of the laboratory are centered in three fields:

  1. A purely scientific area corresponding to the consolidation of the investigational lines and groups that work in each of them.
  2. A second area corresponding to the obtainment of aids and funding for research, in order to ensure the good functioning of the laboratory.
  3. A third objective is to formalize and strengthen existing international partnerships with institutions from Boston, Manchester and Oslo.

The first of the mentioned areas (scientific) comprises a qualitative and quantitative increase in scientific production. In particular, the colorectal and breast cancer stem cell lines.

Both the subject and the quality of research can attract investigators interested in a stay, in preparing a doctoral thesis, or in becoming part of the laboratory personnel. In this sense in 2011 we have incorporated two new biologists into the group. As regards the second area (funding of research), we must continue with the same criterion established years ago in order to ensure the continuity of all the research lines and facilitate the recruitment/ contracting of new personnel members. At present, the laboratory has one FISS grant (2012), one Networks funding from the Carlos III Institute, one grant from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (2009), and several research grants from the CELLEX Foundation.

Main lines of research

1. Tumor chemoresistance mechanisms:

  • 1.1 Resistance mechanisms in colorectal cancer linked to the extrinsic apoptotic pathway, in vitro and in vivo (Joan Maurel).
  • 1.2 Mechanisms of epigenetic adaptation and cellular plasticity during the adquisition of chemoresistance (Estel Enreig, Neus Carbo,Elisabet Ametller).
  • 1.3 Resistance to antitumor drugs in head and neck cancer (Juan J. Grau).
  • 1.4 Electrochemotherapy in solid tumors. Study of electroporation. (Juan J. Grau).
  • 1.5 Implication of IGF-1R and MMP-7 in the mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy and antibodies against tyrosine kinase receptors. Therapeutic strategies for the reversal of chemoresistance (Joan Maurel; Mercedes Marín).
  • 1.6 Characterization of the role of MMP-7 in resistance to bevacizumab in colon cancer (Joan Maurel; Estela Pineda; Mercedes Marín; Cristobal Mezquita; Jovita Mezquita; Betlem Mezquita).
  • 1.7 Mechanisms of tumor progression in breast cancer HER2+ induced by the adquisition of resistance to Trastuzumab and Lapatinib (Patricia Fernández,Paloma Bragado, Gemma Fuster, Pere Gascon).

2. Stem cells, microenvironment and mechanisms of metastasis.

  • 2.1 Neural control of breast cancer progression (Mario Manzino, Estel Enreig, Elisabet Ametller, Pere Gascón).
  • 2.2 Interaction between GPCRs and RTKs (Patricia Fernandez;Estel Enreig, Susana Garcia, Pere Gascon).
  • 2.3 Role of the PPT-I gene in the metastatic process (Mario Mancino, Patricia Fernandez; Paloma Bragado, Elisabet Ametller Pere Gascón).
  • 2.4 Pre-angiogenic micrometastases of circulating cells (Cristina Nadal).
  • 2.5 Mechanisms of liver metastasis in colorectal cancer (Cristina Nadal).
  • 2.6 Role of the microenvironment on disseminated tumour cells dormancy (Paloma Bragado, Raul Alonso, Anna Lopez).

3. Stress and microenvironment influence in breast cancer.

  • 3.1 Effects of the microenvironment on breast cancer heterogeneity (Gemma Fuster, Arantzazu Zubeldia, Anna Lopez Pere Gascon)
  • 3.2 Role of stress in the transition of carcinoma ductal in situ to invasive. (Arantzazu Zubeldia, Gemma Fuster, Raul Alonso, Pere Gascon).

4. Pharmacodynamic studies and prediction of therapeutic response

  • 4.1 Predictive and pharmacodynamic study of the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in prostate cancer. (Begoña Mellado).
  • 4.2 Mechanisms and markers of chemoresistance in prostate cancer. Therapeutic strategies for the reversal of chemoresistance. (Begoña Mellado; Mercedes Marín).

5. Study on the determination and characterization of circulating tumor cells

  • 5.1 In prostate cancer (Begoña Mellado).
  • 5.2 Kidney cancer
  • 5.3 In breast cancer (Montse Muñoz).

6. Micro-RNAs in the development and prognosis of non-small cell lung cancer. (Nuria Viñolas).

7. Study of the tumor and stroma interactions in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): role of fibroblasts associated with cancer in NSCLC (N. Reguart; J. Alcaraz).

8. Effect of anomalous hardening of tumor tissue in NSCLC (J. Alcaraz; N. Reguart).

9. Lung cancer

  • 9.1 To Identify the mechanisms by which the most abundant stromal cell type (i.e. the fibroblast) contributes to the progression of each tumor lung cancer subtype.
  • 9.2 To determine the predictive value of myofibroblast overactivation in the progression of NSCLC, to identify the main causes of such overactivation, and to examine its pathological consequences in terms of cancer cell invasion.9.3 To obtain the epigenetic profile of myofibroblast from different NSCLC subtype.
  • 9.3 To obtain the epigenetic profile of myofibroblast from different NSCLC subtype.