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31/01/2024

Pulseras Candela promotes research on pediatric ependymoma in Vall d'Hebron

Pulseras Candela

Dr. Miquel Segura and Dr. Khloud Elsharawy with Pulseras Candela.

31/01/2024

The association makes the fifth annual donation of 52,390€ that will finance a project to study new therapies for this childhood tumor.

For the fifth consecutive year, Pulseras Candela has made a donation to promote research in pediatric ependymoma led by Dr. Miquel Segura, principal investigator of the group of Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). In 2022, the association signed a collaboration agreement with VHIR to finance this study with 150,000€ spread over three years and, this year, as part of the second year of the collaboration, has delivered 52,390€, 50,000€ from the agreement and 2,390€ obtained through the plataform for solidarity initiatives in Vall d’Hebron. This is the fifth annual donation in addition to the €250,000 they have already donated to the team.

From Pulseras Candela they assure that "we are proud to have promoted this project and, above all, to be able to guarantee its continuity. For us, research is hope and thanks to the work of our volunteers and the solidarity of society we managed to transform our Candelas into hope for many families. We would like to thank Dr. Miquel Segura and the whole group of Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders of VHIR for their involvement and commitment, which give encouragement to our hope and motivate us to continue working for research".

Research in pediatric ependymoma in Vall d'Hebron

Pediatric ependymoma is a type of childhood brain tumor affecting the central nervous system, characterized by being incurable in approximately 40% of cases. Conventional treatment involves the implementation of radiotherapy or chemotherapy, although these techniques are often limited by the complexity of the tumor location and the risk of affecting critical brain structures. "The evolution of new therapies is necessary for the optimization of patients' quality of life and the improvement of survival rates and, for this, the commitment of Pulseras Candela is essential", assures Dr. Miquel Segura.

In this context, the project led by the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To increase the number and characterization of cellular and animal models* for preclinical research of new treatments. The support given by Pulseras Candela to this project has made possible the attraction of scientific talent and that we can continue advancing in the projects. In this sense, we must mention the incorporation of Dr. Khloud Elsharawy, from Egypt and with international training in the United Kingdom. Dr. Elsharawy's experience has allowed us to incorporate new techniques in the laboratory, such as the use of plates that allow tumor growth in three dimensions, thus mimicking what happens in a patient. In addition, we have also incorporated the use of a hypoxia chamber that exposes ependymoma cultures to more favorable conditions for in vitro growth and also resembles the physiological situation.
  2. Evaluation of epigenetic agents with high selectivity for brain tissue. In this line of research it is worth mentioning the analysis of the therapeutic effect of a new class of drugs directed against chromatin remodeling complexes to restore some of the epigenetic alterations that these tumors present.
  3. Development of personalized immunotherapy strategies. This line of research, co-directed with Dr. Anna Llort, aims to understand how conventional therapies modify the expression of membrane proteins that could be targeted by immunotherapy or CAR-T-based therapies. The implications of these treatments on gene expression in both tumor cells and other interacting cells of the nervous system are being studied.

Pulseras Candela: an association to promote childhood cancer research

Pulseras Candela was born in 2013, when Candela, a girl with leukemia, started making bracelets with her friends and the children and adolescents who were sharing the hospital floor with her. Their families created the association to promote research to improve patients' survival.

Together with the collaboration of volunteers, companies and society, this project has become one of the main promoters of childhood cancer research in our country. Recently, thanks to the association, a volunteer project has been launched at the Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Day Hospital of Vall d'Hebron to make bracelets together with patients and their families during their stay at the hospital.

*Institutional Declaration on the Use of Animals in Research

Pediatric ependymoma is a type of childhood brain tumor affecting the central nervous system, characterized by being incurable in approximately 40% of cases.

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Miguel Segura Ginard

Miguel Segura Ginard

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