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Representatives of IRB Barcelona and the AECC during the project launch event at the Barcelona Science Park. Photo / IRB Barcelona.

IRB Barcelona receives €2 million from the Spanish Association Against Cancer

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), based in the Barcelona Science Park, has been selected by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) to develop an innovative project against metastasis, within the framework of the AECC Excellence Program, which will be endowed with two million euros and will last four years.

This pioneering collaboration between the Spanish Association Against Cancer and the Biomedical Research Institute was presented today at the Barcelona Science Park, in an event with the participation of Dr. Francesc Posas, director of IRB Barcelona; Isabel Orbe, director general of AECC and its Scientific Foundation; Dr. Laureano Molins, president of the Barcelona Cancer Association and Dr. Eduard Batlle, head of the Cancer Programme at IRB Barcelona.

From left to right: Eduard Batlle, Francesc Posas, Isabel Orbe and Laureano Molins. Photo / IRB Barcelona.

The spread of cancer cells from the primary tumour to other organs, a process known as metastasis, is responsible for more than 90% of cancer deaths. Despite great advances in research in recent decades, understanding of the underlying mechanisms in the late stages of cancer is limited and this has led to a lack of effective therapies to treat metastasis.

The ‘AECC Excellence Programme: Metastasis’ with which the Spanish Association Against Cancer supports IRB Barcelona is endowed with 2 million euros over 4 years. The project will address metastasis through a multidisciplinary approach that uses advanced computational tools, patient samples, organoids, and specific models of the main types of cancer. Researchers will focus on four types of cancer, namely colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Ten IRB Barcelona laboratories, all internationally renowned researchers, will be involved in different stages of the project: those led by Dr. Eduard BatlleDr. Núria López-BigasDr. Fran Supek, Dr. Salvador Aznar BenitahDr. Roger Gomis, Dr. Direna Alonso-CurbeloDr. Alejo Rodríguez Fraticelli, Dr. Ángel Nebreda, Dr. Cristina Mayor-Ruiz and Dr. Antoni Riera.

“It is an honour to receive the support of the Spanish Association Against Cancer to carry out this cutting-edge research in the field of metastasis. A greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying the spread of cancer to other organs is essential to develop more effective treatment strategies and, ultimately, help save lives”, states Dr. Francesc Posas.

“Our goal is to increase scientific knowledge in the key areas of residual disease, therapy resistance and immune evasion, and translate that knowledge into innovative therapeutic strategies. We are committed to moving towards a future where metastasis is understood and combated with unprecedented precision,” explains Dr. Eduard Batlle.

“This collaboration between the Association and IRB Barcelona demonstrates their joint commitment to promote research of excellence in the fight against cancer. Metastasis is a challenge, but we are determined to advance in its understanding and treatment. The Association has set an objective, namely to increasing research funding year-on-year, in addition to promoting excellence and fostering a science ecosystem in Spain in order to continue working towards 70% cancer survival by 2030”, says Isabel Orbe.

The Spanish Association Against Cancer has awarded only three Excellence Projects of these characteristics in the country.

» For further information: IRB Barcelona website  [+]