RNA Biology and Therapy

"RNA is a highly unfamiliar for most people, but it has enormous therapeutic potential. In the program we work to understand RNA´s role in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases and apply our knowledge to the clinic".


In the program we work cooperatively to address different aspects related to RNA biology:

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IPs: Cristian Smerdou and Puri Fortes.

Identification and functional analysis of non-coding RNAs involved in tumorigenesis and tumor proliferation. We study RNAs that function in key pathways such as senescence, replication, and DNA damage repair, among other. In addition, we study RNA modifications and their functional relevance. The aim is to understand complex mechanisms and apply our knowledge to the clinic.

PIs: Maite Huarte y Puri Fortes

The use of self-replicating RNAs is being investigated to express factors that stimulate the immune system against tumors. These RNAs have great applications in the field of cancer vaccination, following strategies similar to those of the RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. We also generate synthetic non-coding RNAs with therapeutic functions, such as, for example, the regulation of gene expression.

PIs: Tomás Aragón, Josepmaría Argemí and Puri Fortes

Cellular stress has a huge impact on RNA transcription and translation and the development of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. We studied the mechanisms and consequences of cellular stress and the impact of their modulation as therapeutic strategies. Within this topic, we study non-canonical microproteins, those that are produced from RNA regions considered non-coding and that are modulated by cellular stress. We believe that these microproteins can be ideal candidates to develop vaccines against cancer.

PIs: Maite Huarte y Tomás Aragón

The studies carried out in the department are complex and require technological implementation based on massive studies that require complicated protocols for performance and analysis of the results. Several laboratories of the department are especially involved in this technological implementation.

PIs: Josepmaría Argemí, Tomás Aragón and Cristian Smerdou

The studies carried out in the department are aimed at understanding complex biological methods and developing new therapeutic strategies. For this reason, we have developed animal models of the diseases that we study in the program. In addition, the clinical work of Dr. Josepmaria Argemí provides us with direct contact with oncologists and neurologists at the University Hospitals of Navarra.

<p>Fachada del Centro de Investigaci&oacute;n M&eacute;dica Aplicada (CIMA)</p>

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Thanks to the generosity of many people, the Cima Universidad de Navarra is a reality that strives to offer therapeutic solutions to achieve personalized medicine for patients.


Multidisciplinary collaboration

All the department's laboratories are interconnected with each other (white lines) and with other laboratories inside or outside CIMA (red lines). This is essential to enhance our research. Collaboration allows us to achieve much more ambitious objectives than those we could have in isolation. Each laboratory is an essential pillar for the whole department to function.

Our research groups

Non-Coding RNA and Cancer Genome
and Cancer Genome

Combining the application of genomics, epigenomics and molecular biology techniques with the analysis of patient samples.

Cancer Gene Therapy Group

We focus on the development of alphavirus-derived self-replicating RNA-based vectors to express immunostimulatory molecules locally in tumors.

Therapeutic non-coding RNAs and integrated stress in cancer Group

 Non-coding RNAs are very little used therapeutic targets. If we can identify and block them, we will have treatments that prevent tumor malignization or facilitate tumor destruction.

RNA-Based Stress Responses in Neurodegenerative Diseases Grou

We study one of these mechanisms, the Protein Misfolding Response that communicates the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with the cell nucleus.

Scientific activity of the
RNA Biology and Therapy Research Program