Clínic Barcelona. Hospital Universitari
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May 13, 2019

Aleix Prat and Manel Juan, winners of the Vanguardia de la Ciencia Prize

Aleix Prat, head of the Medical Oncology Department of the Hospital Clínic and the IDIBAPS team Translational genomics and targeted therapies in solid tumors, and Manel Juan, head of the Immunotherapy Section of the Clinic and researcher of the Immunogenetics in the autoinflammatory response team in the IDIBAPS, have won the Vanguardia de la Ciencia Award, an award organized jointly by La Vanguardia and the Catalunya la Pedrera Foundation. The development of a test to predict which people with cancer will respond to immunotherapy has been voted as the most relevant scientific advance of 2018 in Spain with 23% of the votes.

In the award-winning study, the researchers of the Clínic-IDIBAPS focused on finding a tool that would allow them to predict which patients could respond to treatments with immunotherapy and which could not. This type of drugs act on the PD1 protein or its complementary PDL1, reason why the researchers reasoned that it was essential that these proteins were in the tumor for the treatment to be effective.

In a first phase of the investigation, they analyzed data from more than 10,000 tumors of 34 different types obtained from the international Atlas of the Cancer Genome consortium. They observed that the activation of the PD1 gene in each type of tumor corresponded to the percentage of efficacy of immunotherapy: 40% of melanomas, 20% of lung tumors, and 5% of colorectal tumors.

Subsequently, they analyzed data from 117 patients treated in the Hospital Clínic. Those who had the active PD1 gene before starting treatment were those who responded to the drugs. The research led by the Clínic-IDIBAPS opens the door to improve the treatment of different types of cancer in which until now immunotherapy was not applied because it was considered that the probability of functioning was low.


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