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IRB Barcelona scientist Eduard Batlle wins the 2016 Carmen and Severo Ochoa Prize

15 Nov 16




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He is awarded this prize for his work on colon cancer

This prestigious prize is given in recognition of molecular biology research performed by scientists working in Spain

Coordinator of the Oncology Programme at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA research professor Eduard Batlle has won the 2016 Carmen y Severo Ochoa Prize. Presented by the Fundación Carmen and Severo Ochoa since 1995, these awards recognise molecular biology research undertaken by scientists in Spain. Former winners include some of the best researchers in the country. The official presentation ceremony will be held on Wednesday 16 November in Madrid.

Breakthroughs in colon cancer

The prize acknowledges Eduard Batlle’s (Barcelona, 1970) contributions to understanding the behaviour of colon tumours and how these tumours become more aggressive, to the point of gaining the capacity to develop metastases, mainly in the liver and lung. Batlle has made numerous contributions to this field, among them the characterization of colorectal stem cells and the fundamental role played by the tumour environment in determining the metastatic capacity of tumour cells. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the second in women worldwide. This disease registers 32,000 new cases a year in Spain, making it the most common cancer in this country.

“It is a great honour to be awarded the Carmen and Severo Ochoa Prize and acknowledgement of my work, which in turn further strengthens—if that were at all possible—my commitment to the research I carry out. I am very proud to appear alongside former winners,” says Eduard Batlle, head of the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory at IRB Barcelona. “I would like to thank the members of my team and congratulate them on their work and make them aware that this prize is also theirs; it wouldn’t be possible to make breakthroughs without them,” he adds.

The ultimate goal of the lab is to obtain information that allows the design of new therapeutic and diagnostic tools. Regarding the latter and with the support of the Botín Foundation, the lab is developing a new test called Colostage to identify those patients at risk of developing metastasis. This tool will help physicians to decide on the best treatments for patients on the basis of this risk.

Batlle’s Research is supported by various funding sources, including two European Research Council (ERC) projects, one ERC Advanced and the other ERC Proof of Concept.

The jury, chaired by César Nombela, comprises members of the foundation’s board of trustees: Santiago Grisolía, Margarita Salas, Julio R. Villanueva, Carlos López Otín and César de Haro.

Official presentation ceremony in Madrid on Wednesday

The prize presentation ceremony will be held at the Residencia de Estudiantes de Madrid at 19:00 on Wednesday 16 November. The commemorative lecture, entitled El complemento. Un viejo conocido de la inmunidad innata convertido en protagonista de la biomedicina del siglo XXI, will be given by Dr. Santiago Rodríguez de Córdoba, a member of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

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 offer pioneering solutions to unresolved medical needs in cancer and other diseases related 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 employees 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).