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Photo: University of Salamanca (USAL)

Salvador Aznar Benitah receives the VI National ‘Doctores Diz Pintado’ Cancer Research Prize

ICREA researcher and group leader of the Stem Cells and Cancer Laboratory at IRB Barcelona, Salvador Aznar Benitah, has been awarded the VI National 'Doctores Diz Pintado' Cancer Research Prize. Last Saturday, he received the award during the academic session held by the University of Salamanca. The prize acknowledges Salvador Aznar Benitah's contributions to transferring knowledge from basic to clinical research.


The National ‘Doctores Diz Pintado’ Cancer Research Prize, named after the doctors Manuel and Alfonso Diz Pintado, is given by the “Fundación de Investigación del Cáncer de la Universidad de la Salamanca (FICUS) – Centro de Investigación del Cáncer (CIC)” with the aim to promote and award the work of young Spanish scientists in oncology research.

The research developed by Salvador Aznar Benitah is mainly basic; however, it pursues clinical application thanks to the combination of several methodologies that allows systematic study of the molecular mechanisms underlying tumour growth. His research group aims to characterize the molecular pathways that regulate the behaviour of normal stem cells during homeostasis and to determine how they become deregulated during carcinogenesis and ageing. The award coincides with the recent publication of his study in Nature (DOI:10.1038/nature20791), which has identified the cells responsible for initiating and promoting metastasis in several types of human tumour.

Asked how he felt about the award of the National ‘Doctores Diz Pintado’ Cancer Research Prize, Salvador Aznar Benitah said, “it is one of the most prestigious in our country”. And he added, “this award brings me and my group great happiness. I am very grateful to the members of the jury for having placed their trust in us and for acknowledging our research”.

The group leader feels proud to have succeeded in building a group that encourages people to strive, to take their work seriously, to be passionate about it, and to work as a team. “Most people in the lab don’t stay in it for more than four or five years, but the philosophy of the lab is always the same”, as Salvador Aznar Benitah highlights. He believes that most of the people who have gone through his lab, or who are currently working in it, uphold this passion for science and the promotion of rigorous teamwork.

This is the second time an IRB Barcelona’s researcher has won this award. Eduard Batlle, coordinator of the Oncology Programme at IRB Barcelona and head of the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory at the same institute, received it in 2014.

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