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The Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) awards funding to three researchers at IRB Barcelona

30 Sep 19




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Salvador Aznar-Benitah has received a grant in the AECC Project category.

Two postdoctoral fellowships have been awarded to researchers Magdolna Djurec and Erika López Arribillag.

Coinciding with World Cancer Research day, which is held on 24  September each year, the Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer, AECC) has announced the research projects and scientists who have been awarded funding for the coming years, among them a project and two women scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).

Salvador Aznar-Benitah, head of the Stem Cells and Cancer Laboratory at IRB Barcelona, is one of the beneficiaries of the funding awarded by the AECC, within the AECC Project category. The project, which will receive funding over the next three years, seeks to unravel why metastatic cells need saturated fats to be able to invade and colonize other organs.

The postdoctoral researchers Magdolna Djurec and Erika López Arribillaga, from the Stem Cells and Cancer Laboratory and Biomedical Genomics Laboratory respectively, have also each received a 4-year AECC postdoctoral fellowship.

Like Aznar-Benitah,Djurec studies the role of saturated fat during metastasis. “Understanding how certain types of fat enhance metastasis gives us the opportunity of develop new therapeutic tools with which to prevent and inhibit metastatic colonization,” explains the researcher.

López Arribillaga’s project aims to study the effect some pharmaceutical agents used in chemotherapy have on the genome of colorectal cancer cells and to draw up a “damage and repair map”. The scientist comments that “this will allow us to explore new mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy, as well as to address possible personalised therapies”.

The fight against cancer is one of the major challenges currently faced by society. Around 50% of cancer cases are cured and the objective is to achieve a 5-year survival of 70% by 2030. To this end, the AECC has once again called for a National Cancer Research Plan.


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 27 laboratories and eight 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 more than 30 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona is a CERCA center, and a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).