Appointment of Neus Agell, Group leader
What motivates our research is understanding how molecules and intracellular organisation regulate the cell function under normal conditions or in pathologies such as cancer

Current research

Problem

Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in developed countries. Although great progress has been made in early detection and treatment, no effective strategies exist as yet in the majority of cases. The cells that are resistant to treatment continue to proliferate, forming new tumours, even in tissues far from the initial tumour site, thus generating metastasis, the main cause of death in patients.

Approach

The objective of the group’s studies is to improve cancer therapies to prevent the appearance, migration and proliferation of tumour cells.

One of the characteristics of tumour cells is their uncontrolled proliferation and migration. In other words, they act regardless of the internal and external signals they receive.

The study of the basic mechanisms that regulate such processes in normal cells and the way in which they are altered in cancer cells allows us to understand the development of tumours and thus know their weaknesses, in order to design new therapies.

Impact

The group’s studies are focused on firstly understanding the DNA replication control mechanisms and secondly, the functioning of Ras family proteins, which appear mutated in many human tumours.

The group aims to find new strategies to suppress the genes that provoke tumours (oncogenes) and halt cell proliferation and migration, as well as inducing replication stress in tumour cells and causing their death.