This year´s annual Fero Foundation (Fundación de Investigación Oncológica) Grant for Translational Research, amounting to 70,000 EUR was presented Monday 12 May, to Sandra Peiró for a two year research project aimed at determining the three-dimensional structure of the tumor cell genome with emphasis on tumor progression and metastatis.
Sandra Peiró holds a Doctorate in Biochemistry from the Universidad de Barcelona (2001), and currently serves as coordinator of the research group on chromatin dynamics in tumor cells at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM). The grant will support research into Chromatin Dynamics during Tumor Progression to investigate how DNA folds within the cell nucleus.
DNA molecules are very long and malleable, and they fold in order to occupy the cell nucleus. The way in which they do so is critical since it determines which genes are activated and inactivated. When the DNA molecule twists however, this interferes with the activity of multiple genes and favors the aberrant multiplication of tumor cells. In so doing, tumor cells acquire different properties that make them more aggressive and capable of generating metastasis, and in the process, producing notable alterations in the expression of a large number of genes whose functions are decisive in the development of tumor metastasis.
The main objective behind this research is to determine the three-dimensional structure of tumor cell genomes, especially during tumor progression and the acquisition of metastatic properties.
The FERO Grant Selection Committee headed by eminent oncologist Carlos López Otín, considered the study to be an original and promising project, and in the opinion of Baselga himself, Peiró’s research, although focused on a basic research line, will open important avenues towards improved treatment for patients.
“The winning project was selected from a total of 45 proposals, many of which showed a very high level of scientific research in the pioneering areas of modern day oncology.” commented Carlos López Otín during the ceremony.
This sixth annual grant was presented during a special FERO fundraising event hosted by the National Art Museum of Catalunya (el Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – MNAC).
Attended by more than 750 guests, the gala evening was presided over by José Baselga, President-Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, and President of the Scientific Committee of Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). José Baselga has been a driving force behind the FERO Foundation and the grant itself, which aims to promote oncology research, especially among young researchers, and provide support to projects with the potential for rapid application at clinical level.