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Salvador Aznar Benitah, head of the IRB Barcelona group "Stem Cells and Cancer" (Photo: Battista-Minocri, IRB).

Salvador Aznar Benitah receives an ERC Advanced Grant worth €2.5 M

The European Research Council (ERC), a pan-European public organisation that funds research projects, has awarded Salvador Aznar Benitah, ICREA researcher and head of the Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), an Advanced Grant worth €2.5 to continue his studies on the effects of diet on metastasis. With this new award, the centre –located at the Barcelona Science Park– now holds 14 grants from the ERC.


This award will allow him to undertake a five-year project called “Dietary Influences on Metastasis: How, When, and Why” .The project aims to unravel the behaviour of metastatic cells and, in particular, pinpoint the influence of fatty acids, especially palmitic acid, on metastasis, a process that is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. This project collects and explores the conclusions reached by Aznar Benitah in 2016, published in Nature, on the relationship between the onset of metastasis and the intake of fats.

An ambitious project ahead

Aznar Benitah and his group will combine state-of-the-art in vivo functional models of metastasis with quantitative metabolomics, proteomics, and epigenetics, among others, as well as integrated computational analyses, using preclinical models and patient-derived carcinomas of melanoma, oral cancer and breast cancer. This research will allow them to study metastasis and the systemic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying this process.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity that the European Union has given us. We know that it’s an ambitious project that can provide very interesting data on metastasis, which we will be able to apply in diverse studies. However, I believe that this kind of work should also be supported by private foundations, public institutions and philanthropic actions in Spain, “says Aznar Benitah.


More information: IRB Barcelona website [+]