On June 27 in Madrid, the Mutua Madrileña Foundation held the award ceremony for its Health Research Grants, which aims to promote clinical studies carried out in Spanish hospitals. In this call, the Foundation has selected a project on circulating tumor cells, led by Dr. Manel Esteller, director of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, ICREA Research Professor and Professor of Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona.
The project "Identification of determinants of response to chemoimmunotherapy in liquid biopsy in patients with small cell lung cancer" will be coordinated by Dr. Manel Esteller through the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) and will involve research teams from Navarra, Santiago de Compostela and Virgen de las Nieves in Granada.
Dr. Esteller's study falls within the field of cancer immunotherapy and will use liquid biopsy with the aim of finding new treatments and improving early detection of small cell lung cancer, which currently has the lowest life expectancy and worst response to treatments. Researchers’ goal is to identify genetic, epigenetic and gene expression alterations in tumor samples from patients with this type of lung cancer.
The liquid biopsy test that will be used in this study makes it possible to analyze genetic damage in cells from the tumor that circulate in the blood or other body fluids, and in the coming years it may become a key tool in the early detection of cancer. As Dr. Esteller explains, "the culture of these cells will also make it possible to test new drugs directed against the alterations detected and to test ways of providing sensitivity to immunotherapy. This precision oncology is expected to contribute to improving the clinical management of patients with this type of lung tumor".
In this 20th call for applications for Health Research Grants, the Mutua Madrileña Foundation will support 26 clinical studies in hospitals throughout Spain in the areas of immunotherapy in cancer, transplants, rare diseases in children, traumatology and infant and juvenile mental health.