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Country: Spain


41 Projects, page 1 of 9
  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 638891
    Overall Budget: 1,846,490 EURFunder Contribution: 1,846,490 EUR

    A major role of metabolic alterations in the development of several human diseases, as diabetes, cancer and in the onset of ageing is becoming increasingly evident. This has a deep impact for human health due to the alarming increase in nutrient intake and obesity in the last decades. Fundamental aspects of how aberrant nutrient fluctuations trigger deregulated hormone levels and endocrine signals have been elucidated, being a prime example the phenomenon of insulin resistance. In contrast, how changes in nutrient levels elicit direct cell-autonomous signal transduction cascades and the consequences of these responses in physiology are less clear. The signalling circuitry of direct nutrient sensing converges with that of hormones in the regulation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, a driver of anabolism, cell growth and proliferation. Deregulation of mTORC1 activity underlies the pathogenesis of cancer and diabetes, and its inhibitor rapamycin is approved as an anti-cancer agent and delays ageing from yeast to mammals. In spite of its importance for human disease, our understanding of the nutrient sensing signalling pathway and its impact in physiology is largely incomplete, as only a few years ago the direct molecular link between nutrients and mTORC1 activation, the Rag GTPases, were identified. The present proposal aims to determine how the nutrient sensing signalling pathway affects mammalian physiology and metabolism, and whether its deregulation contributes to cancer, insulin resistance and aging. In particular, the objectives are: 1) To identify novel regulators of the Rag GTPases with unbiased and candidate-based approaches. 2) To establish the consequences of deregulated nutrient-dependent activation of mTORC1 in physiology, by means of genetically engineered mice. 3) To determine the impact of the nutrient sensing pathway in the effects of dietary restriction and nutrient limitation in glucose homeostasis and cancer.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 963443
    Funder Contribution: 150,000 EUR

    Within our ERC CoG grant, RSHEALTH, our group has contributed to the to the preclinical development of chemical inhibitors of the ATR kinase as anticancer agents, that are now in clinical trials by several companies. During the course of our investigations, we also made important advances in developing inhibitors of SETD8, another interesting cancer-related target. SETD8 is a histone methyltransferase known to play important roles in DNA replication and repair. Evidence indicating that targeting SETD8 could be interesting for cancer therapy has been building up in recent years. For instance, SETD8 is overexpressed in a wide range of cancers, and recent works identified SETD8 as a specific vulnerability in High-Risk Neuroblastoma or MYC-driven Medulloblastomas. Unfortunately, all available SETD8 inhibitors have low potency and poor pharmacological properties, and none has progressed to the clinic. We here propose to capitalize in our strengths in academic drug development, and our experience in transferring our inhibitors to the industry, in order to facilitate the clinical development SETD8 inhibitors. Our proposal includes objectives that will help us improve the quality of our inhibitors, valorise them in preclinical cancer models and develop companion biomarkers that would be used for patient stratification. All of this would be integrated within a business plan that should facilitate a coherent development of this line of work oriented towards the clinical development of SETD8 inhibitors for the benefit of cancer patients.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 895943
    Overall Budget: 160,932 EURFunder Contribution: 160,932 EUR

    Recently discovered subtypes in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) have potential to better guide the choice of therapy. However, this is challenged by the lack of robust data, patient heterogeneity, tumour cell plasticity, dynamic crosstalk with surrounding cells, and post-chemotherapy induced alterations. A few transcription factors may act as drivers of specific PDAC subtypes and changes in there expression through aberrant activation of super-enhancers may lead to ‘’subtype switching’’. However, the effect of the tumour-microenvironment on enhancer-driven gene expression programme to promote ‘’subtype switching’’ in pancreatic tumour cells remains largely unexplored. Hence, with this proposal I aim to provide in-depth characterization of this dynamic crosstalk combining reporter tracing through fluorescent labelling of subtype-specific transcriptional drivers of tumour cell states with powerful high throughput single-cell technologies, and super-enhancer single cell profiling which will translate to a clinical study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with sequential tumour sample profiling. This work will ultimately provide a platform for the development of methods to precisely determine the "phenotypic" state of PDAC cells and aid in designing new agents to target these processes, with the ultimate goal of converting non-responder to responder tumours and improve patient outcome.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 101027864
    Overall Budget: 160,932 EURFunder Contribution: 160,932 EUR

    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most common and aggressive forms of brain tumour, affecting 2-3 per 100,000 adults per year, and with a usual survival time of 14-18 months after diagnosis with only a 10% of the patients living up to 5 years after it. Because of its location, early detection of the tumour and surgical removal may be complicated. Furthermore, its fast growth rate and migration capacity makes it extremely aggressive. Aditionally the presence of glioma cancer stem cells contribute to radio- and chemioresistance of GBM. Because of all this, a deeper understanding about its genetical, biochemical and microenviromental nature is needed. In order to gain more insight into the formation and development of glioma, in this proposed project we hypothesize that the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNPK) and the mechanically activated ion channel Piezo1 constitute an axis that promotes the onset and progression of glioma. HnRNPK is a multifunctional protein that influences transcription, translation and RNA stability amongst other function, and it exerts its function depending on its phosphorylation state, which is modulated by kinases such as ERK, JNK or PKC. Piezo1 is a stretch-activated cation channel, that activated upon mechanical cues allowing the influx of calcium in the cell and activation of multiple cascades, such as ERK or PKC pathways, as well as in apoptosis and migration. Both hnRNPK and Piezo1 are upregulated in gliomas and preliminary data suggests a relation in their regulation. Here, we proposed that there is a regulation between Piezo1 and hnRNPK, and that this axis promotes the onset of gliomas cancer stem cells and contributes to its aggressiveness. With this project, we aim to investigate how this axis could contribute to the formation and aggressiveness of gliomas, and how its modulation can contribute to its control, therefore turning Piezo1 and hnRNPK into a new promising target for glioma treatment.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 101026554
    Overall Budget: 172,932 EURFunder Contribution: 172,932 EUR

    Relapse and metastasis in cancer are driven by cancer stem cells (CSC) which self-renew, give rise to tumor cell heterogeneity and are more resistant to chemotherapy. The RANK signalling pathway is implicated in a number of cancers and notably in breast carcinogenesis and metastasis. Inhibition of this pathway reduces CSCs decreasing both recurrenceRelapse and metastasis in cancer are driven by cancer stem cells (CSC) which self-renew, give rise to tumor cell heterogeneity and are more resistant to chemotherapy. The RANK signalling pathway is implicated in a number of cancers and notably in breast carcinogenesis and metastasis. Inhibition of this pathway reduces CSCs decreasing both recurrence and metastasis. RANKL inhibitors are used in breast cancer clinical trials and studies focused on RANK signalling in carcinogenesis are needed to identify patients who would benefit from treatment. RANK mediates many of its effects on cell survival, migration and chemoresistance via the PI3K/AKT pathway, activation of which confers enhanced proliferation, survival, metastatic potential and resistance to therapy in cancer. AKT is a central node in PI3K signalling and AKT isoforms play important and differential roles in carcinogenesis. RANK is also regulated by CD44, a marker of stemness and a key player in cell migration, proliferation, differentiation, survival, stem cell maintenance and chemoresistance. CD44 alternative splicing plays a pivotal role in cancer development in breast and other tissues. However, the role of CD44 and AKT isoforms in cancer is not clearly defined. In this MSCA project, I will investigate the role of the CD44-RANK-AKT crosstalk in tumorigenesis and identify CD44 and AKT isoforms regulating cancer stemness, metastasis and resistance to therapy. I hypothesize that the interplay between CD44, RANK and AKT regulates cancer stemness and the metastatic potential of breast tumor cells, and specific CD44 and AKT isoforms have vital roles in this process.


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