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Translational research

 Program Against Cancer therapeutic Resistance (ProCURE)

Program Against Cancer therapeutic Resistance (ProCURE)

ProCURE is a new research program of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) aimed at addressing a major clinical problem in oncology; the existence or emergence of therapeutic resistance. As public service, the ProCURE-ICO commitment is to reduce the impact of cancer on health care.

Resistance to therapy is the most common cause of failure of cancer cure and affects, to a different extent, all types of tumors and therapies. This fundamental clinical problem impairs the cure of up to 70-80% of the cases of relatively frequent cancer types appearing in the general population. As part of the public health system, the ICO and ProCURE commitment is to reduce the health impact of cancer and, thus, to connect professional and technological efforts to enhance our understanding of “why” there is no therapeutic benefit in some patients. In this scenario, ProCURE aims to identify and translate useful and precise biomarkers, and beneficial therapeutic strategies against resistance.

To comprehensively and successfully address the problem of resistance, there is a need of multidisciplinary teams. Thus, ProCURE is constituted by 10 research groups within a comprehensive cancer center (ICO) that represents a reference in the country. ProCURE studies all major cancer types and therapies, as well as less frequent neoplasms but that for their clinical impact urgently need beneficial therapeutic options. The research projects include chemo- and targeted resistances, and novel approaches based on immunotherapy, and metabolism and angiogenesis perturbations.

- Development and evaluation of therapeutic strategies that impede and/or neutralize the emergence of resistance to current treatments, including chemotherapy, anti-angiogenesis and targeted therapies.

- Development and evaluation of new therapeutic strategies for current clinical scenarios, including virotherapy, immunotherapy, combined therapies and metabolic therapy, among other emerging strategies.

- We research for patients. Our research is focused on patients, from diagnosis to treatment and/or progression.

- We work in multi-disciplinary teams. Our cancer research is carried out in complementary multi-disciplinary teams, addressing various types of cancer and employing a variety of experimental approaches.

- We are committed to knowledge transfer. We transfer knowledge with a view to improving clinical care and quality of life, and to support wealth creation for the benefit of society as a whole.

Principal Investigator: Ramon Alemany
Ph. 932 607 462
E-mail: ralemany@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/cancer-virotherapy/en
Ext.: http://www.vcnbiosciences.com/committe.html

The research group develops and evaluates new therapeutic strategies based on the use of oncolytic viruses and immunotherapy and is internationally renowned for its work on the generation of adenoviruses that specifically target and kill cancer cells.

Principal Investigator: Oriol Casanovas
Ph. 932 607 344
E-mail: ocasanovas@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/angiogenesi-tumoral/en

The research group studies tumor adaptation to antiangiogenic therapies, particularly those therapies targeting the VEGF/R signaling pathways, in animal models and patients. It focuses on two principal questions: 1) the mechanisms of tumor revascularization that lead to the development of resistance; and 2) the processes by which tumors adapt to anti-angiogenic therapies, leading to increased invasion and a higher risk of metastasis.


Principal Investigator: Eva Martínez Balibrea
Ph. 934 978 684
E-mail: embalibrea@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.germanstrias.org/cancer/resistance-chemotherapy-and-predictive-biomarkers

The research group studies the molecular processes through which tumor cells develop resistance to chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer and melanoma. By identifying the factors responsible for this chemoresistance, the group aims to contribute to the discovery of biomarkers that will improve the selection of effective treatments and to the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Principal Investigator: Javier Abel Menéndez
Ph. 972 225 833
E-mail: jmenendez@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibgi.org/ca/investigadors/javier-abel-menendez
Ext.: http://www.metabostem.com/#team

The research group studies the molecular bases and pre-clinical development of metabolic cancer treatment. Its research is oriented to the discovery, description and clinical application of the tumor property known as metabostemness: a new “metabolic-epigenetic” dimension that controls the mechanisms of self-renewal, tumorigenicity, metastasis and drug resistance of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Clinical application of this approach focuses on the de novo development and repositioning of drugs targeting the “metabolic addiction” of CSCs, which represents a revolutionary biopharmaceutical strategy in cancer treatment.

Principal Investigator: David G Molleví
Ph. 932 607 370
E-mail: dgmollevi@iconcologia.
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/chemoresistance-and-predective-factors-to-tumor-response-and-stromal-microenvirontment/en

The research group studies the influence of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) on tumorigenesis in colorectal cancer. Research into the origins of cancer has traditionally focused on tumor cells, considering tumorigenesis as an independent cellular process directed and orchestrated by the altered genes in cancer cells. However, a more recent understanding of the tumorigenic process suggests that the host tissue microenvironment participates actively and plays a fundamental role in the emergence of resistance to chemotherapy and targeted therapies.

Principal Investigator, Program Director: Miquel Angel Pujana
Ph. 932 607 463
E-mail: mapujana@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/breast-cancer/en
Ext.: http://www.cancersystemsbiology.cat/

The research group studies the genetic basis of breast cancer risk, examining how, from an initial point, subsequent tumor progression and response to therapy may be determined. As such, the group takes a holistic approach to the study of breast cancer, combining germline, somatic (i.e. tumor) and clinical-pathological data to generate personalized medicine models for individual cases.

Principal Investigator: Alberto Villanueva
Ph. 932 607 343
E-mail: avillanueva@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/chemoresistance-and-predective-factors-to-tumor-response-and-stromal-microenvirontment/en
Ext.: http://xenopat.com/team/

The research group studies chemoresistance through the integrated generation and characterization of ortho-xenografts, i.e. human tumor (primary or post-treatment) and metastasis samples implanted orthotopically into the same organ of origin in immunodeficient mice. It has generated dozens of models, including cases of germinal testicular cancer, ovarian, colorectal and breast cancers. Most of these models have been exposed to cycles of chemotherapy (specifically, 5-fluoracil, oxaliplatin and/or cisplatin) to generate ortho-xenografts with acquired resistance.

Principal Investigator: Francesc Viñals
Ph. 932 607 344
E-mail: fvinyals@iconcologia.net
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/factors-angiogenics/en

The research group studies how and when different angiogenic factors (TGF-ß, VEGF and EGF) and their signaling pathways regulate the angiogenic process at the physiological level and how this process is altered in cancer. The group investigates the role of these angiogenic factors in activating receptors in endothelial cells, stimulating different signaling pathways and, in turn, regulating proliferation, migration and/or metabolism. At the tumor level, the group focuses on germinal testicular and ovarian cancer, examining new anti-TGF-ß, anti-EGF, anti-PDGF and anti-angiogenic therapeutic strategies, and their effect on tumor stem cells, circulating tumor cells involved in metastasis, or the presence of circulating biomarkers of tumor progression.

Principal Investigator, IDIBELL affiliated: Alvaro Aytes
Ph. 932 607 464
E-mail: aaytes@idibell.cat
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: (under construction).

The research group studies how the function and regulation of androgen receptor modulates resistance to prostate cancer treatment. The group works towards the identification of predictive biomarkers of response/resistance using genetically modified mouse models. In addition, evaluates therapeutic response in vivo in the pre-clinical and assesses novel drug combinations drugs that may be effective against resistance to standard therapies.

Principal Investigator, IDIBELL affiliated: Mariona Graupera
Ph. 932 607 404
E-mail: mgraupera@idibell.cat
Web: http://www.procure-ico.eu/
Lab: http://www.idibell.cat/modul/vies-de-senyalitzacio-en-angiogenesi/en

The research group studies the function of the tumor suppressor PTEN in endothelial cell biology and how the acquired knowledge can be applied in the development of novel, effective therapies. The group also studies other cell types involved in the vascularization of tumors and, thus, evaluates therapies against this process through detailed knowledge of the underlying molecular mechanisms.


Update:  24.01.2012