2021 December 17

Unoentrecienmil awards its VIII Research Grant to Dr Manel Esteller, Director of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute

The endowment will finance the research of certain epigenetic alterations in patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

The Unoentrecienmil Foundation awards its eighth grant to the project "B-ALL troubling epigenetic dysregulation might represent a new opportunity for therapy", by Dr Manel Esteller, whose objective is to find new therapies for tumors caused by epigenetic alterations, subtle modifications that are produced in the nucleus of cells and interfere with their ability to use the information contained in the genes. In this way, the expression of genes can be modified without mutations in the DNA.

Although the explanation for many types of cancer is found in DNA mutations permanently altering the genes and their function in affected cells, Dr. Esteller and his team will focus their research on the modifications that occur in the readability or expression of those genes. These changes are not permanent and can be reversed with the right tools.

This work has obtained the maximum score by the Spanish Agency for Evaluation and Prospective, dependent on the Secretary of State of Research of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain. The 100,000 euros endowment of this grant will be used specifically for the investigation of epigenetic alterations in patients with type B acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Cancer can affect anyone, even children, and one of the most common pediatric cancers is type B acute lymphocytic leukemia, which accounts for three out of four leukemias diagnosed during childhood. It affects cells that, if properly matured, would give rise to antibody-producing white blood cells: B-lymphocytes. Unfortunately, in acute lymphocytic leukemia the maturation process is severely impaired.

Director of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute

Dr Manel Esteller is the Director of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC), ICREA Research Professor and Chariman of Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona. He is the author of more than 600 scientific articles and has been awarded, among others, the Severo Ochoa Prize and the National Genetics and Oncology Awards. His research focuses on the epigenetic mechanisms responsible for human disease, mainly cancer.

These types of researchers widely go beyond their scientific work with their own human and personal challenge. In the words of Dr. Esteller himself, “Since I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor; In adolescence I realized that for many diseases there was no solution and I wanted to be a biomedical researcher; Already in the career of Medicine I entered the laboratories and since then Science has been my passion. I want to believe that our discoveries have contributed to improving people's lives".

Eight years and more than 2 million euros to fund research

Following this award, the Unoentrecienmil Foundation has already allocated a total of 2,114,000€ to childhood leukemia research to achieve full cure, since the launch of its first grant in 2014. Unoentrecienmil thus fulfills its faithful commitment to launch annually at least one research project to achieve a cure for childhood leukemia, which makes it the only foundation in Spain that dedicates 100% of its profits to projects that investigate this disease.

For his part, José Carnero, founder and president of Unoentrecienmil, has assured: “We are very happy to have the work of Manel Esteller in one of our scholarships, for his commitment and prestige in the field of research and cure of leukemia. Likewise, we want to thank the donations that have made possible the delivery of this new assignment, both individuals and partners, through entities and administrations. A hundred thousand thanks”.

The VIII grant is possible thanks to all the people and entities that collaborate in our projects, the partners who commit themselves month by month with Unoentrecienmil and the hundreds of public people who support us, such as Noemí Galera, who will participate in this delivery ceremony.

About Unoentrecienmil

The Unoentrecienmil Foundation was born in 2012 with the aim of promoting research projects on childhood leukemia, a disease that is diagnosed every year in Spain in more than 300 new children, represents 30% of the cases of childhood cancer diagnosed and produces a terrible statistic: 2 out of every 10 children diagnosed does not exceed it. Since then, it has already allocated more than € 2,000,000 in research: there are already eight annual scholarships, the I Destination Scholarship in the International Center of Excellence and the I MQC Scholarship with a line of research on the benefits of physical activity in healing of childhood cancer-, the Grant to the Cunina Project, which investigates the genetic predisposition to the disease and the All Together Grant, which has obtained participation in a European clinical trial project to achieve personalized and precision medicine in pediatric leukemia patients.