El Corte Inglés – AECC alliance: championing translational breast cancer research of excellence


In celebration of World Breast Cancer Day, the Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés and the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC) this week announced an additional 300.000 EUR in funding to fuel a two year translational research project against familial breast cancer, led by Violeta Serra, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group.

They have also increased their support of a second hereditary breast cancer research project led by Judith Balmaña, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s High Risk and Cancer Prevention Group, alongside Cristina Cruz, Staff Scientist of the same group and clinical researcher of VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, Violeta Serra and Cristina Saura, Principal Investigator of VHIO´s Breast Cancer and Melanoma Group and Head of the Vall d´Hebron University Hospital´s (HUVH) Breast Cancer Program.

Identifying novel predictive factors

Research directed by Violeta will center on familial breast cancer that is mainly triggered by mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 – the most well-known genes linked to breast cancer risk. Given that tumors resulting from an inherited mutation have a reduced capacity to repair, DNA-damaging agents in cancer chemotherapeutics are thankfully often effective in the treatment of these tumors. Unfortunately however, these current therapies do fail to successfully treat 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.

Preliminary data suggests that not all cancer associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have the same deficiency for repairing damaged DNA which might explain certain cases of resistance to therapy. Her team has also observed differences in the amount of immune cells present within tumors which could be an important prognostic factor in triple negative breast cancer. “It is thanks to this invaluable support received from El Corte Inglés, in partnership with the AECC, that we will be able to identify novel predictive and prognostic factors in hereditary breast cancer by carrying out extensive research into DNA repair capacity and immunological composition”, says Violeta.

Extended support based on hugely successful fundraising

Thanks to El Corte Inglés´ outstanding fundraising efforts, support of an additional, established VHIO project aimed at driving 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, has been significantly increased. This multidisciplinary and purely translational research, directed by Judith Balmaña, in which 50 patients are participating, is being carried out in collaboration with other leading VHIO experts including Cristina Saura, Violeta Serra and Cristina Cruz.

When the project launched in 2014, Initial backing totaled at 135.000 EUR over a period of three years. It is thanks to the AECC, El Corte Inglés, its customers, employees and suppliers that total funds raised surpassed all expectations. The final sum amounted to 228.000 EUR, a 69% increase on the initial donation pledged, which will enable this essential project to continue for another two years.

“It is thanks to the generous support received from El Corte Inglés in association with the Spanish Association against Cancer that we will further advance cancer discovery against familial breast cancer and ultimately improve outcomes for our patients, now and in the future”, concludes Cristina Cruz.

For additional information surrounding these two VHIO research lines contact: Amanda Wren, Director of Communications, Email: awren@vhio.net, Tel. +34 695207886.



Related Posts