Appointment of Virginia Amador, Group leader
We are familiar with the cancer genome atlas. Now, the great challenge is to know the function of these genetic errors in order to understand their relationship with evolution, spread and resistance to drugs

Current research

Problem

Personalised therapies have great potential for the treatment of various types of cancer, such as lymphomas. However, resistance (to drugs) remains a problem that must be resolved. Normal cells within the tumour’s micro-environment provide factors that help cancer cells to grow and survive despite the presence of drugs.

The identification and description of new signalling networks and factors responsible for cancer emergence, progression and resistance to drugs, in both cancer cells and normal cells in the tumour micro-environment, will be essential for the design of new therapeutic strategies for aggressive cancers with relapse, such as lymphomas.

Approach

The group identifies and describes the molecular mechanisms and the clinical impact of new oncogenic factors and the signalling pathways of aggressive lymphomas using innovative screening tools in primary patient samples, molecular and cellular biology tools and mimicking the tumour microenvironment in 3D cocultures. It also conducts translational research, in which it generates lymphoma in murine models to test the treatments in vivo.

In this way it can better understand the disease and it can find new targets in order to develop specific therapies that benefit patients with aggressive relapsing lymphomas, many of them incurable to date.

Impact

The results of the group have helped to show that, as with solid tumours, the tumour micro-environment and the immune system play an important role in aggressive behaviour and response to current treatments against mantle cell lymphoma.

Its ultimate goal is to transfer the best experimental therapies to patients with aggressive lymphomas, to improve their response to treatments and their quality of life. Its experimental approaches will also allow the establishment of new biomarkers to stratify patients, which will result in a more accurate allocation of these new treatments.