Appointment of Oriol Bachs, Group leader
Understanding the mechanisms that generate disease will enable us to find solutions

Current research

Problem

The group is trying to understand the processes that generate malignant tumours. Tumours are caused by alterations in the mechanisms that maintain and express the genetic information of cells, which is in their DNA. These alterations make the cells lose control over their replication and consequently, the accumulate in a disorderly fashion, generating the tumour.

For this reason, understanding the causes and effects of these alterations on cells is essential in finding new treatments to prevent tumours.

Approach

To understand how alterations in cancer cells generate a lack of control in cell replication, we must first understand how this replication is regulated in normal cells. Therefore, the group is studying the mechanisms that regulate the replication of normal cells and then analysing them in tumour cells.

To do this, the group uses a wide range of experimental techniques in order to study the molecules involved in these mechanisms.

Impact

The group hopes to identify the proteins involved in the control of cell proliferation that are altered in tumours and determine their impact on tumour development. In particular, it is working on a protein called p27 which appears very frequently in the most malignant human tumours.

The group has identified new functions of this protein that have enabled it to understand how its loss or reduction affects tumour development. Thus, the group’s research aims to counteract this loss of p27 as a new anticancer treatment strategy.