Salvador Aznar Benitah winner of the National Research Prize of the Fundación Caja Rural de Soria

Salvador Aznar Benitah leads the Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory at IRB Barcelona
Salvador Aznar Benitah leads the Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory at IRB Barcelona

The IRB Barcelona scientists is presented the prize in recognition of his research into cancer and fats.

The Board of Governors of the Fundación Científica Caja Rural de Soria (FCCR) has named Salvador Aznar Benitah, ICREA researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), winner of the 2017 National Research Prize. In its statement, the jury indicates that “his research has forced manufacturers to change the ingredients and additives in a large number of food products”.

Cancer and fats

Salvador Aznar Benitah and Gloria Pascual have revealed that the CD36 protein is essential for the appearance and growth of many kinds of metastases—which derive from the primary tumour and migrate to various organs—and have proposed a strategy to block this process. Furthermore, they have demonstrated that some kinds of dietary fat contribute to the spread of cancer in mice. Published in the journal Nature in December 2016, the study could bring about the development of a new treatment in a period of five years.

The FCRR has considered Aznar Benitah’s “exceptional work” worthy of the prize and its Board of Governors endorsed his naming after approving the proposal made by the Management and Medical Advisory Board of the same organisation.

Salvador Aznar will open the event “Soria Saludable 2017” on 19 October, where he will present his findings in the field, which the FCCR considers to be “of social impact and of particular international impact in the fields of healthcare and oncology”.

Launched in 1995, the National Research Prize of the FCCR has been presented every two years since 2001. Awardees of this prize include Spanish scientists Santiago Ramón y Cajal Agüera (1997), Antonio López Farré (2001), Francisco Fernández Avilés (2003), Jesús San Miguel (2007), Pedro L. Alonso (2009), Pedro Cavadas (2011), Rafael Matesanz (2013) and Juan Carlos Izpisúa (2015).

The prize is supported by the “Consejo General de Colegios de Médicos” and the “Real Academia Nacional de Medicina”.


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).