IDIBAPS ran the Marató de Barcelona with the Association for International Cancer Research

The Marató de Barcelona was  held on Sunday 17th March. For the first time, the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) had a team of runners participating in the event. The AICR funds cutting edge research into the causes of cancer. In the past 32 years, its donors have supported a large variety of projects in all corners of the world, including IDIBAPS. That is the reason why Dr. Sílvia Beà, a Miquel Servet researcher, and the PhD student granted by the AICR David Martin, both from the Human and experimental functional oncomorphology IDIBAPS team, joined the AICR team to support them. David Martin even ran with them!

The research project led by Dr. Sílvia Beà, and funded by AICR, is titled Investigating Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system - part of our immune system). It is mostly found in middle aged to older individuals (60-65 years) and is more common in men than women. The median survival for MCL is only 3-5 years and sadly the vast majority of patients cannot be cured.

There are a small number of patients who have a stable form of the disease and do not need treatment for long periods of time. With her AICR grant Dr. Beà is analyzing samples from MCL, both aggressive and more stable forms, to identify which alterations are responsible for the disease and to understand the genetic reasons for this difference in clinical aggressiveness. The project uses next-generation sequencing technologies to sequence for the first time the whole genome of 5 MCL patients and the whole exome in 30 MCL cases in order to identify the catalogue of somatic mutations. The findings are being validated in a large series of 200 primary MCL tumors.

Before the Marathon the AICR held a dinner on Saturday night to give the runners a chance to meet some of the researchers that they support. The meeting was a motivational tool for runners and an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those running and working for funding new researches. Since 1978 the Marató de Barcelona is a reference in international athletics. Now it joins efforts with AICR, IDIBAPS, IMIM, CRG, IDIBELL, IRB, VHIR and many other institutions in the fight against cancer.