Joan Albanell Mestres
Manuel Ramón Pera
Antonio García de Herreros
Manuel Ignacio Algara
The programme includes basic, preclinical and clinical groups. Group leaders include basic scientists, digestologists, hematologists, immunologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and surgeons, resulting in a multidisciplinary programme that allows undertaking collaborative projects focused on clinically relevant questions.
An important line of research is the role of liquid biopsy in the efficacy of targeted drugs in colorectal cancer, culminating in the design of two clinical trials (1) to establish the value of specific mutations for selecting metastatic colorectal cancer patients for individualized therapy (CITRIC trial) and (2) to use ctDNA to individualize adjuvant chemotherapy in early colorectal cancer (PEGASUS trial).
In colorectal cancer, the role of IKKalpha kinase and Braf have been further elucidated, emerging as a novel combinatorial therapeutic strategy. We have also collaborated with immunology groups and reported a significant predictive role of both tumour and circulating natural killer cells in predicting the response to anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies in breast cancer.
In the context of a collaborative AECC project, this finding supported an innovative clinical trial on cellular therapy with NKs for patients with HER2+ breast cancer progressing to standard treatment. In bladder cancer, a preclinical study on paclitaxel and mTOR inhibitors provided the foundation for a planned clinical trial.
Studies in haematological patients, in collaboration with cardiologists, have provided useful information on parameters of cardiological toxicities that have been incorporated into patient management. Surgical groups have shown the potential of tumour ablation by radiofrequency in pancreatic cancer. From a preclinical perspective there have been also important contributions in both haematological and solid tumours.
Collectively, the programme has published 139 papers, 24% in the first decile, and 35% led by programme investigators. A Miguel Servet researcher was awarded by Worldwide Cancer Research for a project on “Hysteresis conveys the EMT spread to neighbouring tumour cells and metastasis”. The phase I clinical trial programme has continued to grow in haematology and oncology.