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22/09/2023

Translational research to improve the survival and quality of life of patients with cancer

Investigador i microscopi

Researcher looking at a tumor with the microscope.

22/09/2023

On World Cancer Research Day, we highlight the oncology research model of the Vall d'Hebron Campus that allows laboratory results to be transferred as quickly as possible to clinical practice.

September 24 commemorates World Cancer Research Day: a day to highlight the need to promote research to make available to patients new diagnostic and therapeutic tools to improve their survival and quality of life of patients. From the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR), one more year, we join the day to higlight the oncology research model at the Vall d'Hebron Campus, together with the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO).

Vall d'Hebron researchers carry out basic, clinical and translational research. Thanks to the diversity of tumors and patients studied, the proximity of the laboratories to the hospital and the participation in numerous clinical trials, the discoveries are transferred as quickly as possible to clinical practice. To this end, the Vall d'Hebron Campus makes a joint effort with more than 800 professionals dedicated to cancer research, who participate in nearly 800 clinical trials each year and publish more than 700 articles in scientific journals.

Oncology research: one of the main interests of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute

Among the most important lines of research of Vall d'Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR) is the study of different types of tumors. In fact, VHIR has a collaborative research area (eCORE) of Cancer, which aims to improve the outcome and quality of life of patients. This eCORE directs its efforts to reveal and understand the mechanisms of cancer origin and progression and translate this knowledge into new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic solutions. VHIR's research includes the generation of relevant disease models, biomarker studies, drug development and clinical trials.

Among the most outstanding advances of the last months are the findings in the field of childhood cancer, such as the identification of new therapeutic strategies based on blocking the process of metastasis in pediatric neuroblastoma patients through epigenetic reprogramming of tumor cells, or the development of a new peptide drug to reduce metastasis formation in childhood cancer and breast cancer.

In addition, at VHIR, different researchers are studying how to avoid the resistance of different tumor types to treatments and immunotherapy, as well as the repositioning of drugs already approved for human use that could be effective against cancer in certain circumstances. For example, a therapeutic strategy has been identified for a subtype of melanoma without specific treatment by using a drug approved years ago for other indications, or studying the expression of genes involved in the resistance of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck to favor the response to standard chemotherapy. Also noteworthy is the design of a less invasive, more accurate and faster diagnosis of endometrial cancer, which will improve the management of patients with suspected cancer. In the clinical field, VHIR researchers are working on a pioneering project based on improving early diagnosis of prostatic neoplasia through the generation of artificial intelligence algorithms to improve clinical practice.

VHIR has 12 research groups working in the Cancer collaborative research area (eCORE), where 241 professionals work. During 2022, the researchers of the Cancer eCORE published 304 articles in scientific journals with an average impact factor of 7.77. In addition, the groups that are part of this eCORE participated in 100 clinical trials.

VHIR has 12 research groups working in the Cancer collaborative research area (eCORE), where 241 professionals work.

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"Generation of a bank of surgical orthotopic PDX (patient-derived xenografts) models within the framework of a personalized medicine program in pediatric cancer" was the awarded work, of the Childhood Cancer and Hematological Diseases Group of VHIR.

The work led by Dr. Regis demonstrates that performing robotic reconstruction after radical prostatectomy is associated with better urinary control.

A study, co-led by Vall d’Hebron, has analysed the evolution of clinical trials with children and adolescents with cancer over the last 15 years, with the aim of optimising efficacy and defining lines for further progress.

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