Appointment of Itziar Salaverria, Group leader
The combinations of molecular alterations within a cancer cell are infinite. We face the great challenge of discovering each patient’s individual mechanisms in order to provide them with the most personalized treatment

Current research

Problem

Evidence shows that paediatric and adult lymphomas present clinical and biological differences, yet only molecular markers of adult patients are used in clinical practice (basically because few studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children exist).

Furthermore, paediatric patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are treated based on a strict age limit (up to 18 years of age), instead of taking into account the biological complexity of each tumour.

Approach

The group studies the genetic and molecular profiles of the different subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the paediatric population and in young adults, using high-resolution techniques. These studies provide more information on the biological basis of each subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and make it possible to identify useful biomarkers for diagnosing and treating these patients.

The findings of these studies facilitate the stratification of patients in risk groups based on the body’s response to different treatments, which opens the way to research on new therapeutic strategies aimed at specific targets.

Impact

The group has identified genetic abnormalities involved in the development of several paediatric lymphomas. Some had already been described as important targets in adult cancers, but others may be specific to paediatric lymphomas.

This highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to understanding paediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These findings open the way to developing specific treatments that benefit patients with lymphoma, especially recurrent cases, many of which are incurable.