The Molecular Oncology group at IRBLleida investigates new therapeutic targets for colorectal cancer

March 31 is the World Day for the Prevention of Colon and Rectal Cancer

The Molecular Oncology group of the Lleida Biomedical Research Institute (IRBLleida), recently created at the center and led by the director of the Institute, Diego Arango, is investigating new therapeutic targets for the treatment of colorectal cancer thanks to the study of specific proteins that impact on the onset, development and progression of colorectal cancer. March 31, is the World Day for the Prevention of Colon and Rectal Cancer.

The research group works in two large areas of digestive tract tumors. The former focus on understanding the biology of colorectal tumors through the study of specific proteins. They also work in the field of nanomedicine, introducing and testing drugs in nanoparticles (materials up to 1,000 times smaller than a millimeter) to deliver targeted drugs to cancer cells to maximize treatment success and reduce side effects.

On the other hand, in a second area of ​​research projects, the group seeks to classify patients according to the probability of response to the different therapies available for the treatment of colorectal cancer. For this reason, researchers study the therapies that patients receive in the first line (5-fluoracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatí), such as those used when the condition has progressed and has spread to other organs (regorafenib and TAS102). These projects look for prognostic biomarkers to enable oncologists to make informed decisions about what type of therapy should be used in each patient to increase the likelihood of cure. In this way, the group contributes to the personalization of colorectal cancer treatment.

March 31, World Day

Colon and rectal cancer is a frequent ailment from the age of 50. It is the most frequent cancer considering cases in both sexes, and it is estimated that 6,000 new cases are diagnosed in Catalonia every year.

Most colorectal cancers develop from lesions called adenomatous polyps, precancerous lesions. Both polyps and cancers bleed intermittently and it is this blood that can be detected through the test offered by the Early Detection Program. In Lleida, according to data from the year 2019, since its inception, the early detection program has helped diagnose 267 cancers of the colon and rectum in the Lleida Health Region and 34 in the Upper Pyrenees and Aran. Regular participation in the Department of Health's Early Detection of Colon and Rectal Cancer program reduces the chances of colon and rectal cancer by 17%, and the positivity rate is around 6% of those screened. Participation in the program is free, even if additional explorations are required.

The research group works in two large areas of digestive tract tumors