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01/12/2022

Joan Petit Foundation donates €100,000 for childhood cancer research

Donació de la Fundació Joan Petit a Vall d'Hebron

01/12/2022

The donation will allow to continue promoting research projects to understand and find new therapies for pediatric nervous system tumors and childhood sarcomas.

Un any més, Amics Joan Petit Nens amb Càncer Fundació col·labora amb la recerca en càncer pediàtric que duu a terme el grup de Càncer i Malalties Hematològiques Infantils del Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR). En concret, dona suport a les línies de recerca en tumors del sistema nerviós i en sarcomes liderades pel Dr. Miquel Segura i el Dr. Josep Roma, respectivament, ambdós investigadors principals del grupOnce again this year, Amics Joan Petit Nens amb Càncer Foundation collaborates with the pediatric cancer research carried out by the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). Specifically, it supports the research lines in nervous system tumors and sarcomas led by Dr. Miquel Segura and Dr. Josep Roma, respectively, both principal investigators of the group.

Although cancer survival in children and adolescents has improved greatly in recent decades, this progress has not been equal in all diseases and therefore there are still tumors with suboptimal survival rates and treatments that cause very important side effects. Pediatric nervous system tumors are the most frequent malignant solid neoplasms of childhood cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in children.

The Neural Tumors Laboratory in the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR, led by Dr. Miquel Segura, focuses on neuroblastoma, a pediatric solid tumor of the peripheral nervous system, and pediatric brain tumors of the pediatric central nervous system such as ependymoma, medulloblastoma or high-grade glioma. "In order to find new forms of therapy that are more effective and safer, the laboratory's main objective is to implement the use of epigenetic therapies, i.e., therapies that target genes that regulate gene expression and that can affect more than one altered process in cancer", Dr. Segura emphasizes. In this sense, the donation from the Joan Petit Foundation will make it possible to achieve this objective by attracting and retaining researchers, generating new models in the less frequent pediatric tumors of the nervous system, and developing a new drug to inhibit the function of the BAF chromatin remodeling complex, a key factor in epigenetic regulation.

In relation to the work on childhood sarcomas, these constitute a large family of malignant tumors, which originate in a wide variety of supporting tissues of the organism. Among the pediatric population, rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), non-RMS soft tissue sarcomas, osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma stand out for their high malignancy and incidence. Despite this high degree of malignancy, sarcomas have historically been little studied.

Dr. Josep Roma leads the Children's Sarcoma Laboratory, within the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR. His main lines of research are aimed at developing innovative treatments by applying the latest findings in the biology of these cancers. It also works on the early detection of relapses to facilitate patient follow-up, in a non-invasive way. "The fundamental objective of all the laboratory's projects is to achieve higher survival rates for these patients, as well as a reduction in the side effects associated with the therapies", explains Dr. Roma.

Amics Joan Petit Nens amb Càncer Foundation

Amics Joan Petit was founded in 2001 and constituted as a Foundation in 2004 and its objectives are the care of childhood cancer patients and to spread the knowledge of this disease. Since 2008 it collaborates with donations for research projects to VHIR.

For the Joan Petit Foundation it is important to promote research and knowledge and values the effort being made by researchers at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute in the different lines of study of pediatric tumors to improve the survival of affected children and adolescents.

To make this possible, the Foundation organizes different activities to raise funds for childhood cancer research. This year they have celebrated the Joan Petit Party in Calafell, races and popular walks in which La Nocturna Malgrat stands out, snacks, day at the Celler Llopart, solidarity must, storytelling evening at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden in Blanes and charity dinners such as the Solidarity Night of the Rotary of Vilafranca del Penedès and the dinner of Illusions that annually takes place at the Hotel Santa Marta in Lloret de Mar.

Thanks to all the collaborators, sponsors and unconditional friends Joan Petit, this year has managed to reach the figure of 100,000 € that will go entirely to research in childhood cancer.

The Foundation supports the research lines in nervous system tumors and sarcomas led by Dr. Miquel Segura and Dr. Josep Roma, respectively, both principal investigators of the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR.

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