VHIO’s Scientific Report 2021: Turning 15 and driving continued, ‘crystalized’ progress against cancer during COVID-19 pandemic waves


This year’s Scientific Report: Turning 15 and driving continued, ‘crystalized’ progress against cancer during COVID-19 pandemic waves, celebrates our Institute’s 15th  year of advancing cancer science and clinical oncology against this disease that will affect an estimated 1 in 2 people during their lifetime. The simple branding incorporating crystals is symbolic for three reasons.

First, in some cultures, crystals are associated with a 15-year anniversary. Second, as evidenced throughout this report, we continue to achieve greater clarity regarding the many complexities that still remain in more effectively combating cancer. Finally, the spherical crystals, emitting energy from all sides, represents VHIO’s multidisciplinary and translational model – a seamless, unrestricted flow of discovery from the bench to bedside and back, for which our Institute is famed.

This approach was pioneered by José Baselga, our Institute’s founder and first director, who very sadly passed away at the age of 61 on 21 March, 2021. The international scientific cancer community, along with all other stakeholders in oncology, continues to mourn his passing. José was a visionary scientific leader and trailblazer in cancer research and precision oncology who made tremendous contributions to improving outcomes for cancer patients worldwide.

Our purely translational research model, championed by VHIO’s Director, Josep Tabernero, continues to be at the very core of our philosophy which we all passionately pursue to solve cancer sooner. We all continue to honor José’s extraordinary legacy by applying the same dedication, collaborative spirit and fight in combating cancer.

As a tribute to the undisputed father of precision medicine in oncology, and on behalf of all of us at VHIO, Josep Tabernero has dedicated this year’s Scientific Report to José Baselga’s treasured memory. We invite you to turn to pages 6 and 21 of Josep’s Foreword.


Our 2021 Scientific Report: Snapshot Summary


For another year, our programs, research teams, groups and transversal units succeeded in weathering the COVID-19 pandemic storm. By speedily adjusting to shifting circumstances and carefully balancing physically working in the lab and/or clinical setting with remote working, we have continued to drive important advances in cancer research and precision oncology toward improving outcomes for those who matter most; our cancer patients. We have done so in collaboration by working in partnership with many other researchers and clinical investigators across the world, including consortia of excellence (pages 197-206).

In addition, due to the safety issues brought about by COVID-19, we had to adjust our approach to photography for a second consecutive year.  With the exception of our larger groups, we sought to include as many group members as possible without masks. Each photo was taken individually, at a distance, in locations away from areas dedicated to the care of our cancer patients. We also welcomed faculty who were working at home during each photo session, inviting them to send their photos from home.


Scientific Report 2021: a handful of highlights

We kindly invite you to browse our various programs and group pages, as well as other features and sections including:

  • Opening triple page spread. This fold-out section highlights VHIO’s accreditation -announced at the end of 2021- as a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence (2022-2026). It also features our Director, Josep Tabernero, Principal Investigators, as well as the Heads of our Transversal Clinical Trials Services, Units and Programs.

They lead their teams, groups and programs to turn obstacles into opportunities, and work tirelessly to resolve current and future challenges in combating cancer.

Highlighted throughout, Josep has hand-picked a few of the many VHIO studies and developments that rightly made headlines in 2021, see pages 6-22. In partnership with many other leading research centers and groups, both nationally and internationally, our teams and talents published 446 scientific articles in leading journals as corresponding, senior or co-authors. For a listing of these contributions please see pages 62-73, 168-193.

These papers also include research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients as well as professionals in oncology. For a selection of COVID-19 related studies (co) led VHIO, please see pages 33-34.

  • Who we are and what we do; VHIO’s Translation toward Precision Oncology: a little more on how we did it in 2021. To discover much more about us, our activities and achievements this year we invite you to take a look at these front half sub-sections, pages 26 – 61:

VHIO can and will only continue to deliver on its goal of accelerating the pace in advancing personalized and targeted therapies against cancer thanks to the public funding it receives as well as the generous support from our Institutional Supporters and Patrons (pages 27-31), private institutions, companies, associations, societies, and individual donors. As a direct reflection of VHIO’s research of excellence, we also continue to secure essential funding through several International and National Competitive Grants.

We express our immense gratitude to all VHIO supporters, funding entities and agencies. For all our current supporters and funding sources please turn to pages 194-207. For new funding and projects in 2021, please refer to pages 208-214.


Our 2021 Scientific Report is now available in the following formats:

The  ‘light’ version in print, as a downloadable PDF file, and as an extended microsite and mobile friendly version online at: https://www.vhio.net/scientific-reports/.


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