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Contra el Cáncer Association gives IRB Barcelona almost four million euros to boost research



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In 2023, the Asociación awarded funding amounting to €29.4 M for research into rare and low-survival-rate cancers applying digital advancements to progress in the diagnosis, tests, and advanced, effective, and safe therapies for patients.
IRB Barcelona has been the beneficiary of 6 grants in different categories, including support for talent, research projects, internationalisation, and its institutional excellence programme.


In an event held yesterday at its headquarters in Barcelona, Contra el Cáncer Assocation presented the 2023 Research Grants for projects that will be carried out in this province. 


In total, Contra el Cáncer Association has awarded €29.4 M via 233 grants throughout Spain—44 of these allocated to projects conducted in Barcelona. 


The goal is to increase the survival rate of cancer patients to 70% by 2030, as well as to ensure that research advancements directly reach those in need.


The following projects have been granted to IRB Barcelona:



Excellence Programme: Metastasis - €2 M


The ultimate goal of this project, which involves various laboratories at IRB Barcelona, is to understand and address metastatic disease, which is responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths. More information here


Impact of Ageing and High-Fat Diets on Liver Health: Mechanisms and Strategies for Prevention and Reversal. – AECC Coordinated Project, Dr. Salvador Aznar Benitah (€1.2 M)

The project, coordinated by Dr. Salvador Aznar Benitah (IRB Barcelona) and involving Dr. Raúl Méndez (del IRB Barcelona) and Dr. Mercedes Fernández-Lobato (Hospital Clínic – IDIBAPS), addresses how high-fat diets and ageing affect the liver and their connection to liver cancer. This work ultimately seeks to develop preventative strategies and treatments.


Detection of microbiological markers for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. –AECC General Projects, Dr. Toni Gabaldón (€290,000).

Dr. Toni Gabaldón, head of the Comparative Genomics laboratory at IRB Barcelona, will conduct research into how to improve the early detection of colorectal cancer through the use of microbiological markers.


Identification of driver mutations in clonal hematopoiesis and their role in cancer. – AECC postdoctoral grant, Dr. Joan Enric Ramis (€160,000).

Dr. Joan Enric Ramis, a postdoctoral researcher in the Biomedical Genomics laboratory, is working on the identification of driver mutations in clonal hematopoiesis and their role in cancer.


Role of the immune system in the treatment of pancreatic cancer with BRCA mutations. –TRANSCAN3 grant, Dr. Direna Alonso Curbelo (€150,000).

The ultimate goal of the international project led by Dr. Direna Alonso-Curbelo, head of the Inflammation, Tissue Plasticity & Cancer laboratory, is to improve the treatment of pancreatic cancer with BRCA mutations. The study will focus on unravelling the role of the immune system in therapies against this type of cancer.


Deciphering how the immune system promotes the early stages of pancreatic cancer – AECC Predoctoral Grant, Josefina Galván (€100,600).


Josefina Galván, a PhD student in the Inflammation, Tissue Plasticity & Cancer laboratory, is studying how the immune system promotes the early stages of pancreatic cancer. This work seeks to identify new targets for improving the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.



The main goals of the Research Grants awarded by Contra el Cáncer Association are to support research talent to ensure job stability and the development of researchers' skills in Spain, promote clinical research to engage medical professionals in research and bring results closer to patients, and continue to invest in innovation through specific grants. continuar apostando por la innovación con ayudas específicas.

About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).