Molecular therapy to personalize metastatic cancer treatment

The focus of his research is on molecular diagnosis of cancer and innovation of treatment that blocks certain molecules involved in the development of metastasis. This time, Speaker studies colorectal and breast cancerThe first is the most common cancer in our country, with more than 41,000 new cases every year, and the second with more than 35,000 new cases per year, which is even more common than colorectal and lung cancer in Spanish women.

UCAM is contributing to the development of precision medicine

– What is molecular medicine applied to cancer?

When cancer appears, if it is in a very important area, for example, inside the skull, the patient may die from that first tumor, but if it originates, for example, in the chest or the wall of the large intestine. In the U.S., if he dies, it is usual that it is not because of him, but because of his metastases. The word metastasis comes from ‘meta’, meaning beyond, and ‘stasis’, growth. Metastatic disease of cancer has been known for two centuries, but until now we have not been able to cure it. Molecular medicine focuses on identifying the molecular patterns of cancers that will metastasize and then treating them using inhibitors of the same molecules that help us differentiate them.

– What solutions does the team you lead provide?

Our UCAM high-tech researchers identify colon cancer that will metastasize. This has important implications for the therapeutic approach and patient follow-up. We conducted these studies in collaboration with the Santa Lucia Hospital in Cartagena, which helped us collect more than 200 cases of colorectal cancer., in which we have already identified prometastatic molecules that predict whether patients will develop metastasis, even in very early tumors. Thus, if a person has very early colorectal cancer, but it is known that it will generate metastases, after removing it, we will have to give him more aggressive treatment and increase the frequency in the follow-up of the patient, so that as soon as metastases occur Appears we can treat more effectively.

Studies related to colon cancer are carried out in collaboration with the Santa Lucia Hospital in Cartagena

– What progress are they making in breast cancer?

Often, genes expressed by breast cancer deactivate the patient’s anti-tumor defenses through ‘immunosuppression’ that inhibits the immune response. One of the hopes for curing it is to revive the defenses that have been deactivated by the tumor. This reactivation is called immunotherapy. Through this we cancel out the inhibitors of the defensive system that the cancer has activated. The result is that more than 20% of patients with advanced cancer treated with immunotherapy are cured. In our team, we look for combinations of breast cancer genes that cause a patient’s immunosuppression to know who should receive immunotherapy.

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