Biomarkers and New Therapeutic Targets in Lung Cancer

"Buscamos biomarcadores que permitan seleccionar personas de alto riesgo que deberían ser evaluados en un programa de cribado de cáncer de pulmón para el diagnóstico temprano de la enfermedad".

DR. LUIS MONTUENGA BADÍA
RESEARCHER. RESEARCH GROUP BIOMARKERS AND NEW THERAPEUTIC TARGETS IN LUNG CANCER

The Biomarkers and New Therapeutic Targets in Lung Cancer Research Group focuses on the search for diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers in lung cancer and on finding new targets to improve its treatment.

Specifically, our group works on developing early detection strategies for lung cancer based on the basic and translational study of the molecular alterations that take place during the carcinogenesis process. The objective is to identify potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, evaluate candidate biomarkers in clinical samples and develop diagnostic and prognostic tools suitable for clinical use.

We have state-of-the-art genomic technologies that allow us to identify and validate new molecular targets in tumors with few therapeutic options that improve the survival and quality of life of lung cancer patients. We have samples from several independent cohorts of patients. We are also conducting functional studies in cellular and animal models to validate the potential targets identified. If we demonstrate sensitivity to inhibition of these targets, we will search for new drugs directed against these molecular pathways.

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Objectives of our research

Characterization of molecular alterations in lung carcinogenesis to identify potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

Evaluation of candidate biomarkers in clinical samples and development of diagnostic and prognostic tools suitable for clinical use.

Use of genomic technologies to identify and validate new molecular targets in tumors with few therapeutic options.

FROM THE LABORATORY TO THE CLINIC

Cutting-edge technology for lung cancer

Using next-generation sequencing techniques, our group has analyzed which genetic abnormalities are present in the cells of patients with adenocarcinoma. Thanks to this study we identified specific genetic alterations of this disease, such as the inactivation of RB1 in patients with EFGR mutations, a known gene involved in this type of lung cancer.

According to this work, the presence of these RB1 alterations in the tumor could indicate a greater probability of developing resistance to treatment, especially to EGFR inhibitors.

Lines of research

Some of the projects currently being developed in the laboratory are:

  • Study of the molecular mechanisms used by lung malignant cells to evade complement system activation.
  • Changes in RNA processing associated with neoplastic transformation and development of splicing microarrays for the identification of new molecular markers for lung cancer.
  • Standardization and validation of molecular biomarkers in the context of early detection of lung cancer.
  • Development of histology-specific prognostic signatures based on protein expression profiles.
  • Application of genomic and cytogenetic techniques in lung cancer detection.

Some of the current lines of work in our team are

  • Characterization of new molecular profiles using genomic data from patients (point mutations, copy number alterations and LOH) and data regarding alterations in splicing. Identification of new therapeutic targets based on molecular profiling.
  • Development of new therapeutic strategies directed against specific mutations that can improve the survival of lung cancer patients.
  • Characterization of the mechanisms of activation and regulation of the complement system on the tumor cell. Identification and validation of therapeutic targets based on the blockade of the complement system and its synergy with the use of checkpoint inhibitors used in immunotherapy.

Meet the research team

Scientific activity of the Biomarkers and New Therapeutic Targets in Lung Cancer Group