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Research Group in Biochemistry of Cancer

Lines of research

Cancer therapy and diagnosis

Main lines of research

The group's research focuses on the field of cancer therapy and diagnosis. Two lines of research are worked on in particular:

1. Glycobiology and cancer:

Finding molecular markers that enable cancer to be diagnosed in its early stages, where current therapies are most effective, and which can also be used for improving tumour prognoses and follow-ups, and in the study of glycoenzymes involved in adhesion and metastasis processes, for possible treatment against their effects. Research. Heads: Dr Rosa Peracaula and Dr Esther Llop.

1.1. Tumour markers: anomalous glycosilation of various seric proteins as possible carcinoma tumour markers.

Presently focused on pancreatic and prostate carcinomas, in particular the anomalous glycosilation of over-expressed or new-expressed seric glycoproteins in pancreatic cancer and of PSAs (prostate-specific antigens). Extensible to other glycoproteins (Proteomics and Glycomics).

Molecular mechanisms responsible for changes in glycosylation in tumours

Studies of the expression of glycosyl transferases responsible for the biosynthesis of carbohydrate antigens associated with tumour, determination of their implication in different stages of tumour progression and of the factors that regulate its expression.

2. Targeted anti-tumour therapies (TAD): 

Development of molecules with anti-tumour activity, that go against specific targets in cancerous cells. Research. Head: Dr Anna Massaguer

2.1 epidermal growth factor (EGF) analogues as anti-tumour agents

Design and production of derivatives of family EGF growth factors (Truncated EGF and other modified ligands) with potential anti-tumour activity. Study of the resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies against EGF receptors, through the appearance of autocrine loops from the EGF/ErbB pathway. 

2.2 Vehiculation of anti-tumour compounds-

Characterisation of transition-metal based complexes as potential anti-tumour agents. Study of their activity in photochemotherapy. Design and production of vehicular peptides for targeting chemotherapeutic agents to over-expressed receptors in tumours (EGF derivatives and bombesin, octreotide and RGD-peptide derivatives etc.)

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