Aleix Prat, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Translational Genomics Group, has been awarded a grant amounting to 450.000 U.S. dollars (345.000 euros) from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to pursue a research project entitled “HER2-enriched molecular subtype as a predictor of response to dual anti-HER2 therapy in HER2-positive breast cancer”.
This funding program entitled the Career Catalyst Research Grant, supports young researchers in breast cancer who are in the initial stages of developing their research, by offering them a “period of protected time” over a three year period, so they can develop their careers under the guidance of a mentoring committee. This highly coveted grant is allocated following a rigorous selection process, evaluating applications from other research groups and centers of excellence from around the world. It therefore endorses both Aleix Prat´s outstanding research as well as VHIO as an international reference in oncology. Importantly, according to the Komen family, the objective of this funding is to support projects that have, over the next decade, the potential to significantly advance the breast cancer field and ultimately lead to a decrease in breast cancer incidence or mortality.
VHIO´s Translational Genomics Group led by Aleix Prat primarily focuses on developing biomarkers for the identification of more optimal treatments for cancer patients. The specific project for which he has obtained Komen Foundation funding, illustrates the importance of identifying and validating predictive biomarkers and/or biomarkers of survival in breast cancer.
“Our group’s main objective is to discover genetic patterns that can predict different clinical behaviour of tumors. For example, we recently completed a study of thousands of hormone-sensitive breast tumours, and this analysis has allowed us to validate a biomarker that improves the current identification of those patients who do not need to receive chemotherapy. The objective of the project to be funded by the Komen Foundation, carried out in collaboration with the Spanish cooperative research group SOLTI, is now to identify those patients with HER2-positive tumors who can be cured with anti-HER2 biological therapies without the need for chemotherapy,” Aleix Prat explains.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which was founded in the United States in 1982, is the largest non-governmental foundation for the funding of breast cancer research. Since its creation, the Foundation has invested 685 million U.S. dollars (representing more than 525 million euros) in research. Currently, it provides 600 research grants of various types around the world, collectively amounting to 300 million U.S. dollars´funding (almost 230 million euros).