19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA



Our VHIOTECA Unit was created in 2021 to support researchers for the obtention, registration and preservation of biological samples other than tumoral tissue (plasma, feces, saliva, etc.) from cancer patients, the use of these samples in research projects.

The use of liquid biopsy testing in cancer patients for the identification of new biomarkers of response and resistance to therapy coupled with its incorporation in clinical research projects requiring plasma, have led to a significant increase in the extraction of blood samples from cancer patients. This activity requires a structure, dynamization of circuits and the optimization of resources. For this reason, our first objectives are to consolidate existing circuits and processes so that they are consistent and reliable and to ensure the optimal use of samples in the best possible conditions. We are also committed to supporting VHIO researchers in setting up new projects and collaborations that require the use of these types of samples.

Another area of growing interest of research in clinical oncology is the study of the microbiome during tumor development and progression, especially in colorectal cancer. These studies require the collection and genomic and molecular analysis of stool samples as well as the completion of questionnaires for subsequent epidemiological studies. To support our researchers, we aim to create a new sample and data collection circuit that facilitates the development and execution of projects.

Our team comprises clinical research oncology nurses specialized in specific tumor types, technical staff for sample processing and registration (sample managers), and technical support staff for sample logistics and management, database creation and maintenance.

VHIO’s Molecular Prescreening Program

Since 2017 our Head of Unit, Susana Aguilar, has coordinated molecular prescreening at VHIO, and now collaborates closely with the program’s Research Support Technician, Jenifer González.  This program is co-led by VHIO’s Ana Vivancos, Paolo Nuciforo, Elena Garralda, and Rodrigo Dienstmann, Principal Investigators of our Cancer Genomics, Molecular Oncology, Early Clinical Drug Development, and Oncology Data Science (ODysSey) Groups, respectively.


  • Consolidation of existing circuits:
    • Provide support to researchers in the extraction, registration and storage of samples (mostly plasma) and database maintenance.
    • Standardize protocols and establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
    • Maintain optimal registration and archiving of the informed consent of the patients.
  • Creation and consolidation of new circuits:
    • Establish new circuits for the collection of different plasma and tumor samples (e.g. feces, saliva, breast milk, etc.), sample and patients’ data, and tailor them accordingly to meet the requirements and specificities of research projects.
  • Research Suport
    • Collaborate with different teams of clinical and preclinical researchers to help set up new projects and collaborations using existing or new samples.
Susana Aguilar
Head of Unit
Head of Unit
Susana Aguilar
Clinical Research Oncology Nurses
Ariadna García
Alex Sierra
Anna Suñol
Marta Sanz
Mireia Soleda
Anna Vázquez
Sample managers
Gemma Pruna
Inés Castro
Research Support Technicians
Laura Boleda
Lidia Fuertes
Jenifer González (prescreening)
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