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07/12/2022

Two VHIR research projects that are developing a non-invasive diagnosis of endometrial cancer and to improve the efficiency of RNA therapies receive funding from the Generalitat

Miguel Segura i Eva Colas

07/12/2022

The Product category of the Indústria del Coneixement program is awarded to projects in an advanced stage of development with the objective that they reach the market as soon as possible.

Two projects of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) have been chosen to receive funding from the Indústria del Coneixement program of the Generalitat of Catalonia in the Product category. The goal of these grants is to promote scientific projects with the potential to reach the market. The grants are divided into two categories, Seed and Product, depending on the stage of development of the initiative.

The Product category is intended to help researchers define the path to commercialization, business model generation, proof-of-concept design or other similar activities. One of the grants has been awarded to an initiative of Dr. Eva Colas, principal investigator of the Biomedical Research in Gynecology group at VHIR, to develop the CytoMARK. A project to advance the development of a non-invasive diagnostic method for endometrial cancer. The new technique works by identifying protein biomarkers from a sample of cervical fluid. A much simpler, faster and painless diagnostic tool than those currently available.

Another grant has been awarded to a project of Dr. Miguel Segura, head of the Neuronal Tumors Laboratory and principal investigator of the Cancer and Childhood Hematological Diseases group at VHIR. It is a research that seeks to optimize a nanoparticle called Quatsomes in order to use it as a vehicle to implement therapies based on nucleic acids such as RNA (as is being done with COVID vaccines). Currently there is no standard and universal vehicle for these therapies, i.e., the particle that carries the modified RNA inside and protects and transports it to the target cell, preventing it from being diluted prematurely or entering the wrong target. This shortcoming hinders the creation of new treatments using this technique. If this particle proves its usefulness and efficacy, the possibility of new treatments will multiply. As a proof of concept, small RNAs such as microRNAs or RNA interference will be used for the treatment of tumors such as neuroblastoma and ovarian cancer. Each of the projects will receive 100,000 € with the aim of accelerating the arrival of the products to the market and consequently to the patients.

Dr. Segura's team has also received a grant, valued at 20,000 €, in the Seed category, which is for projects in earlier stages. The initiative seeks to find a compound or molecule that functions as a structural disruptor of the BAF complex and thus activate an epigenetic "switch" that stops the metastasis of neuroblastoma and other similar pediatric cancers. Several studies have shown that the BAF complex is key to the expansion of cancer cells, therefore, finding a way to disable it will stop the progression of this pathology and reduce its mortality. It should be pointed out that Neuroblastoma is one of the most lethal pediatric cancers.

Each of the projects will receive 100,000 €

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The selected studies were those of Dr. Carlos Jiménez, from the Cancer and Childhood Hematological Diseases group, and Dr. Eva Coll, from the Biomedical Research in Gynecology group, both members of eCORE-Cancer.

Judit Mascó apadrina el mocador que distribueix Natura a través de les seves botigues i on line. Els beneficis es destinen als projectes de dues joves investigadores del VHIR i el VHIO.

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Miguel Segura Ginard

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Eva Colas Ortega

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Antonio Gil Moreno

Antonio Gil Moreno

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