Area 3

Gastrointestinal and pancreatic oncology

Team leader

Strategic objectives

The gaining of in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of gastrointestinal and pancreatic premalignant and malignant lesions, with a view to defining new diagnostic, therapeutic and/or preventive strategies.

Main lines of research

The activity of the research group in Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Oncology is divided into four areas, and these in turn correspond to different lines of investigation:

  1. Physiopathology of colorectal cancer:
    - Hereditary forms of colorectal cancer, screening and surveillance.
    - Genetic susceptibility in colorectal cancer.
    - Epigenetics of colorectal cancer.
  2. Physiopathology of pancreatic cancer:
    - Implication of microRNAs in pancreatic cancer.
    - Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the local and metastatic spread of pancreatic cancer.
  3. Research and innovation in endoscopy:
    - Endoscopic ultrasound.
    - Advanced diagnostic techniques.
    - Endoscopic therapies.
  4. Research and innovation in surgery:
    - Surgery for colorectal cancer.
    - Surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Research Group

Gene Therapy and Cancer Group

Cristina Fillat Fonts


The research of the group focuses on the study of the molecular and cellular basis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and the development of novel experimental therapies based on gene transfer and virotherapy.

The main research lines are:

  1. Identify specific cellular pathways and molecular determinants altered in pancreatic tumors.
  2. Development of antitumoral therapies based on oncolytic adenovirus. Main interest is devoted to the search for sensitizers of adenoviral oncolysis and to study their mechanisms of synergie. Special emphasis is also applied to engineer tumor-selective oncolytic adenoviruses.
  3. Explore novel non-viral experimental therapies for pancreatic tumors. Preclinical testing of the newly developed therapies is studied in genetically-modified mouse models and in orthotopic xenografts. Some of the animal models are specially designed to allow for the non-invasive imaging of tumor progression and metastatic processes.
  4. Development of gene therapy strategies to study rare genetic diseases.

Research Group

Genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer

Sergi Castellví-Bel


“Genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer” is a research group led by Sergi Castellví-Bel has the main objective of identifying genetic variants involved in germline susceptibility to colorectal cancer (CRC), and to explore its application in the clinical management of patients.

The main research lines are:

  1. Next generation sequencing: new predisposition genes for CRC
  2. Genetic association studies: new genetic variants for CRC and advanced adenoma risk
  3. Fine mapping and functionality studies for genetic variants
  4. Genotype-phenotype correlation of the genetic variants with clinical characteristics of patients, including their value in establishing prognosis