Today the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (Spanish Association against Cancer) presents its 2016 Research Awards in Barcelona.
Two research projects on colon cancer will receive funding over five years.
To date, IRB Barcelona has received AECC funding for eight studies.
Today, Jelena Urosevic and Carles Barceló, postdoctoral fellows at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), will officially be presented with funding over 5 years from the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC) for their respective research projects on colon cancer. This morning the AECC has held an institutional act in Barcelona chaired by Her Majesty the Queen, honorary president of the AECC and its scientific foundation, who has presented a total of 7.9 million euros to 34 researchers (22 projects).
IRB Barcelona projects awarded
Carles Barceló is a scientist in the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory, headed by ICREA researcher Eduard Batlle. Barceló’s project focuses on studying the colon cancer stem cells responsible for the initiation and progression of the tumour. His research line seeks to identify new mechanisms of tumour stem cells under the specific control of given oncogenes and thereby allow researchers to design therapies aimed to interfere with tumour development.
Jelena Urosevic works in the Cancer Growth and Metastasis Laboratory, run by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis. Urosevic concentrates on the metastases caused by colon cancer in the liver and lung. The project seeks to identify, within a family of proteins called phosphatases, those that are regulated by the metastatic process in colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the second in women worldwide. Spain reports 32,000 new cases each year, thus making this disease the most common in this country. The 5-year survival rate is currently 64%.
Many of the current therapeutic strategies are effective in eliminating the primary tumour; however, 50% of the patients develop another tumour, which is resistant to conventional treatment. Barceló says “in my project we attempt to elucidate how mutations in a tumour modulate the activity of the stem cells that generate the tumour”. The objective is to discover how certain drugs targeted to oncogenes act directly on stem cells to remove them.
Jelena Urosevic explains that most colon cancer deaths are caused by metastases in vital organs such as the liver and lung. “The objectives of the project include better understanding the metastatic process, identifying new therapeutic targets and searching for compounds that can trigger metastatic cell death”.
AECC funding for IRB Barcelona
To date, IRB Barcelona has secured AECC funding for eight cancer projects. Barceló and Urosevic both comment on the importance of AECC support to give stability and continuity to their research careers and to be able to further knowledge of cancer and metastasis. “Research is the only weapon we have to fight cancer,” says Jelena Urosevic. Carles Barceló makes a comment that confirms the previous statement: “at the current pace of research, in 40 years it will be possible to treat any kind of cancer. Research should be supported, because the economic and social return for every euro invested is enormous”.
One of AECC’s main objectives is cancer research of excellence and it is “until now, the non-profit making organsation that devotes most resources to cancer research, with almost 35 million euros allotted to this cause,” as a press release explains.
Web AECC: www.aecc.es