The main risk factor in cancer patients is the formation of metastases. While current treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, and radio-therapy) are mostly effective in primary tumours, metastatic disease usually does not respond as adequately. For this reason, a therapy based on the inhibition of metastasis may have a high impact on the evolution of patients and may significantly increase their survival.
The present project opens a very innovative research line, focused on metastasis blockade by means of a new drug able to halt the metastasis process on its initial phase. This block would hinder the implantation of the tumour cells in the target tissue (typically lung, liver and brain). In preliminary experiments, this blockade has shown to reduce the implantation of metastatic cells (reduction close to 75%) in animal models of rhabdomyosarcoma, a malignant tumour that occurs mostly in paediatric age. Given that the molecular mechanism that drives this blockage appears to be general, the project aims to study in depth this mechanism as well as its possible applicability in other malignant tumours, with special emphasis on those with higher risk of developing metastases. The progress of this project may have a high potential for the development of new therapies focused on impairing metastases, which would open a new way of treatment thereby enabling a survival increase.
Laboratory of Translational Research in Child and Adolescent Cancer. Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)
⋅ Dr. Josep Roma
⋅ Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo