The Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) presented today, within the framework of World Cancer Research Day, the resolution of the grants to promote research against cancer. Among the selected candidates, there are three researchers working in oncology research at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR): Dr. Laura Mondragón, Dr. Eva Colás and Dr. Trond Aasen.
Dr. Laura Mondragón and Dr. Eva Colás have received the AECC Researcher 2020 grant, which aims to help postdoctoral researchers in the development of a research project in cancer to boost their scientific career towards creation of your own research lines. The grant has an initial duration of two years with the possibility of an extension for two more years and it consists in €100,000 for two years. For his part, Dr. Trond Aasen has been selected for the AECC Seed Ideas 2020 grant, in order to finance the generation of new innovative cancer research ideas that, if confirmed, will be the basis for a new research project. In this case, the contribution is endowed with €20,000 distributed over two years.
The project of Dr. Laura Mondragón, researcher at CIBBIM-Design and Pharmacodynamics of Nanoparticles research group, is based on the study of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), a type of cancer characterized by the rapid and late onset of symptoms and poor survival. The aim of her research is to use a mouse model with a lymphoma similar to patients with AITL to better understand its origin and develop a specific therapy for its removal.
On the other hand, Dr. Eva Colás is a researcher in the Biomedical Research in Gynecology group, where she studies new methods for the control of recurrence in endometrial cancer. Currently, the classification to determine the risk of recurrence is based only on clinical parameters, but in many cases these criteria does not allow the identification of patients at risk. This project will address a massive study at the proteomic level for the identification, verification and validation of biomarkers that will be able to predict recurrence and, therefore, form the basis for the development of a predictive tool for the follow-up of each patient with the aim of improving their survival.
Finally, the project of Dr. Trond Aasen, researcher in the group of Translational Molecular Pathology, focuses on cellular communication. Specifically, they study the Cx43 protein, which is part of a type of channels that share important signaling molecules between cells, and tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), which connect cells over much longer distances to facilitate the transfer of material between them. Recently, the group has discovered that Cx43 directly regulates the formation of TNTs and the aim of current research is to explore in depth the relationship between them and cancer growth and resistance to chemotherapy drugs.