RESEARCH GROUP

Non-coding RNA in hepatocarcinoma and other liver diseases

"We have developed viral vectors that inhibit target gene expression by expressing short RNA molecules and are highly effective in both cultured cells and animal models."

DR. Mª PURIFICACIÓN FORTES ALONSO
RESEARCHER. NON-CODING RNA IN HEPATOCARCINOMA AND OTHER LIVER DISEASES RESEARCH GROUP

Non-coding RNAs are very numerous and poorly studied molecules that serve mainly regulatory functions. The Non-coding RNAs in Hepatocarcinoma and Other Liver Diseases Research Group at Cima has identified long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) required for the growth of hepatocarcinoma and we are evaluating whether this allows us to develop strategies to treat this disease.

Hepatocarcinoma is the most common liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world. This is due to the fact that in most patients hepatocarcinoma is detected in late stages, in which current treatments only manage to prolong survival by a few months. It is therefore necessary to develop systems that make it possible to detect the existence of hepatocarcinoma in a blood sample, to classify tumors according to their prognosis and to develop personalized treatments that prevent tumor growth and metastasis. All this is possible with the study of lncRNAs.

The team consists of molecular biologists in close contact with clinicians and bioinformaticians. Together, we are studying the tumor transcriptome, with all the coding genes and lncRNAs it expresses.

In addition, using biotechnological techniques we want to design new molecules based on these lncRNAs that may be of interest in gene therapy applications. We have already developed viral vectors that inhibit the expression of target genes by expressing short RNA molecules, such as siRNAs, modified nuclear small RNAs (snRNAs) or both. We are currently developing similar strategies aimed at increasing gene expression or regulating it.

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Objectives of the Non-coding RNA
Research Group

To identify markers of hepatocarcinoma in serum

Apply artificial intelligence techniques to stratify tumors and predict their most effective treatment

Study the function of lncRNAs that serve as therapeutic targets to understand why the tumor becomes addicted to them

To develop small antisense molecules that prevent the function of target lncRNAs

FROM THE LABORATORY TO THE PATIENT

Cutting-edge translational research

The research team of the Gene Therapy Program is fundamentally basic, but with a very translational vision and maintains close collaborations with teams from the Clínica Universidad de Navarra.


Clinical
translation

Improvement of therapies developed for genetic diseases and cancer to provide solutions for patients.


Transfer DNA or RNA in vivo

Implementation of new gene therapy technologies using gene editing or non-viral vectors.


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs)

Development of new expression regulation systems, as well as the identification of new therapeutic targets.

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

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Scientific activity of the Non-coding RNAs Research Group

Latest scientific publications