Skip to main content

Exploring new frontiers in colorectal cancer research




Press & Communications Section Head
Tel.+34 93 40 37255

ICREA research professor Eduard Batlle is featured in the “Meet Our Scientists” video entitled “Deconstructing colon cancer”.

The video presents IRB Barcelona's Colorectal Cancer Laboratory research, which is devoted to understanding the behaviour of colon tumours and propose new cures for patients.

“In science, very often we get lost in a forest of preconceived ideas that prevent us from advancing and finding the right way,” states ICREA research professor and CIBERONC member Eduard Batlle (Barcelona, 1970) in the tenth video of the series “Meet Our Scientists”, entitled “Deconstructing colon cancer”. He adds, “in the laboratory, what we like most is to explore new frontiers, and this is obviously a great challenge. We have hundreds of ideas, but we need to focus and address only those that are possible.”

Deconstructing colon cancer” presents the work performed by Eduard Batlle, group leader of the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), on the study of stem cell biology in relation to the initiation of colorectal cancer.

His research aims to understand the biology of cancer stem cells, to find ways to track these cells in tumours and to understand what their roles are during disease progression, and during resistance to therapy. “We also would like to understand how to therapeutically target these cells to be able to provide new cures to patients with advanced disease,” stresses Batlle.

Tackling the metastasis process

Lately, the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory has been interested in the phenomenon of metastasis—how colorectal cancer spreads to other organs. “What we have learned is that it is a largely process that is not autonomous to cells, which means that the cancer cells by themselves can not generate metastasis but rather they have to learn to communicate with other cells of the body so that they can spread to foreign organs”, explains Batlle.

By understanding the precise communication between the different cell types of the tumour, Batlle’s laboratory will be able to envision new ways to treat and to diagnose colorectal cancer patients.

Watch the video “Deconstructing colon cancer” (Subtitles available in Spanish, Catalan and English).




“Meet Our Scientists” comprises a series of short videos that present several of IRB Barcelona's leading scientists. The videos seek to show the insight, passion, character and talent of the researchers that work at the centre.


About IRB Barcelona
Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 25 laboratories and seven core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and 32 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona forms part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the “Xarxa de Centres de Recerca de Catalunya” (CERCA).

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).