Sponsored walking to support liquid biopsy-based breast cancer research: El Paseíco de la Mama

Last week ´s seventh El Paseíco de la Mama 7.5 Km sponsored walk along Zaragoza´s canal will raise essential funding to fuel liquid biopsy-based research against breast cancer, led by Cristina Saura, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Breast Cancer and Melanoma Group.

Spurred by the tremendous success and interest generated by the previous six annual ´canal crusades´, over 200 walkers completed this year´s route on 27 May. In addition to the spirited and determined supporters, with several new faces for 2017, Cristina, also Head of the Vall d´Hebron University Hospital´s (HUVH) Breast Cancer Unit, once again joined the walk this year.

El Paseíco de la Mama began to take shape when Inés Gasén was diagnosed with breast cancer during her pregnancy – not only naturally provoking fear and uncertainty for her and her family, but also raising many questions and doubts concerning the health and the future ahead for her baby. Triggering a call to action in her mother in-law, Elaine, and driven by the need to bring a positive out of the then challenging times, she decided to organize an annual sponsored walk to raise funds aimed at advancing insights into breast cancer.
Rallying support among their family and circle of friends and acquaintances, Elaine and her two daughters Pili and Susan, and Inés, founded El Paseíco de la Mama in 2011 with the inaugural walk which took place in June that year.

Gaining momentum and upping the pace year in, year out, El Paseíco de la Mama continues to report an increase in the number of participants, donations and personal pledges. To-date, thanks to its dedicated supporters and followers, the last six sponsored canal strolls have collectively raised a total of 165.623 Euros.

This year´s fundraising will back research into the liquid biopsy ´policing´ of breast cancer led by Cristina and Meritxell Bellet, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Fellow of VHIO´s Breast Cancer and Melanoma Group. The liquid biopsy is a blood-based test that can non-invasively reveal circulating tumor DNA that is release by tumor cells into the bloodstream. This circulating DNA contains vital signals, components and genetic information about what is actually occurring in a tumor, providing VHIO´s medical oncologists and our multidisciplinary teams with a much bigger picture regarding the specificities and status of an individual patient´s cancer.

Of tremendous importance in improving detection and following cancer´s every move, is that the liquid biopsy allows for serial samples in order to identify tumor genomic alterations not only in real time, but over time. VHIO-led research aimed at developing and advancing this novel approach will ultimately bring the liquid biopsy to routine clinical practice and in so doing, provide critical insights that will render the treatment and care of an increasing number of breast cancer patients more precise.

In the name of investigation dedicated to improving outcomes for breast cancer patients, we thank the tremendous determination and drive of the founders, supporters, walkers and friends of El Paseíco de la Mama.

For more information about El Paseíco de la Mama and research at VHIO please contact Amanda Wren, Director of Communications, directly via email: awren@vhio.net.


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