Spanish retailer, El Corte Inglés, teams up with AECC to back breast cancer research of excellence

  • One of Spain´s major department store chains, El Corte Inglés, last week strengthened its collaboration with the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC), in support of research into familial breast cancer led by expert teams of VHIO scientists and physician researchers at the Vall d´Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus
  • Awardee, Cristina Cruz, Staff Scientist at VHIO´s High Risk & Cancer Prevention Group, researcher at VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, and Medical Oncologist at HUVH, will work in collaboration with other VHIO scientists and physician researchers across the Vall d´Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus.

Officially announced last week, El Corte Inglés has extended its collaboration with the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC) by financing a three-year multidisciplinary research project against hereditary breast cancer to drive the development of novel anti-cancer therapies for women carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation who, despite having been previously treated with surgery and chemotherapy, suffer disease relapse.

More specifically, Cristina and a multidisciplinary ´tour de force´ of experts, including groups led by Judith Balmaña, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s High Risk and Cancer Prevention Group and Program at the Vall d´Hebron University Hospital (HUVH), as well as appointed Head of the funded project, Violeta Serra, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, and Cristina Saura, Head of the Breast Cancer Program at HUVH and Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Breast Cancer & Melanoma Group, will focus on familial breast cancer which is mainly triggered by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 — the most well-known genes linked to breast cancer risk.

Given that tumors resulting from an inherited mutation in these genes have a reduced capacity to repair DNA, DNA-damaging agents in cancer chemotherapeutics are thankfully often effective against these cancers. Unfortunately, however, these current treatments will fail to be effective in some of these patients. Added to this scenario, familial breast cancer generally affects younger women and, in the case of BRCA1, is often particularly aggressive.

To improve outcomes for these patients there is therefore an urgent need to more effectively tackle this type of cancer from each and every angle: from risk assessment, prevention, early detection, to the prediction, tracking and policing of individual patients´ sensitivity and potential response to new therapies. Central to these efforts will be discovery at preclinical level. By achieving such a connected approach, linking translational science with clinical research, Cristina and colleagues will ultimately accelerate the development of novel anti-cancer therapies and more precisely identify those patients who will be most likely to benefit from them — transforming research into more promising treatments for this population of breast cancer patients.

“Thankfully, especially when detected early, breast cancer is today associated with high cure rates. To provide more hope for those patients who unfortunately suffer disease relapse, however, we must continue to determinedly concentrate our research efforts on combating cancer recurrence”, observes Cristina.

“It is thanks to this generous support received from El Corte Inglés in association with the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC), that we, as multidisciplinary teams, will be able to further contribute to advancing cancer discovery against hereditary breast cancer and ultimately improve outcomes for patients who suffer from disease relapse”, she concludes.

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For more information please contact:

Amanda Wren • Director of Communications, Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) • Tel. +34 695 207 886 awren@vhio.net

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