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CNIO Publications, Year 2013

Nature Communications

A tumour suppressor turned into anti-cancer target

Madrid, 4 December, 2013

The laboratory of Marcos Malumbres, who is head of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre’s (CNIO) Cell Division & Cancer Group, working alongside Isabel Fariñas’ team from the University of Valencia, shows, in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, how in mice the elimination of the Cdh1 protein—a sub-unit of the APC/C complex, involved in the control of cell division—prevents cellular proliferation of rapidly dividing cells. These results could accelerate the...

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Nucleid Acids Research

The first large catalogue of interactions between drugs and proteins

Madrid, 28 November, 2013

The three-dimensional structures of proteins determine how, when and where they bind to drugs and other compounds. In 2012 alone, thousands of structures like this were resolved. Now this mass of information needs to be translated into a biological context that can be used to extract relevant functions from these interactions, as well as significant pharmacological and disease- related effects.A Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) work, led by Alfonso Valencia, Vice‐Director of Basic...

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Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

A new ancestral enzyme facilitates DNA repair

Madrid, 20 November, 2013

Every day, the human body produces new cells to regenerate tissues and repair those that have suffered injury. Each time this happens, the cells make copies of their DNA that they will pass on to the resulting daughter cells. This process of copying the DNA, also called replication, is very delicate, given that it can generate severe alterations in the DNA that are associated with malignant transformation or ageing. Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by...

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Biology Open

Recreating the history of life through the genome

Madrid, 18 November, 2013

One of the most important processes in the life of cells is genome replication, which consists of making exact copies of the DNA in order to pass it on to their offspring when they split. In most organisms, from yeast to human beings, genome replication follows a set plan, in which certain regions of the genome replicate before others; alterations in the late replication phases had previously been related to cancer and ageing. Now, a team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO),...

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Cancer Research

A new anti-cancer therapy based on cell division is validated

Madrid, 15 November, 2013

Aurora-A is a protein involved in the cell division process that is highly expressed or synthesised in a large number of human cancers, especially in those associated with a bad prognosis. Several pharmaceutical companies have recently developed these protein inhibitors, although the therapeutic and physiological effects that blocking Aurora-A might have on adult tissues are still unknown.A study led by Ignacio Pérez de Castro, a researcher in the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre’s...

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Cell

Senescence also plays a role in embryo development

Madrid, 14 November, 2013

One of the main mechanisms the body uses to protect itself against cancer is to switch off defective cells by making them senescent; these cells do not die but stop dividing: their life cycle stops. A team of researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid and another one from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have discovered, and are publishing in two articles in the journal Cell, that this switching‐off mechanism also takes place in embryos,...

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The Journal of Clinical Investigation

The immune system induces liver damage during hepatitis

Madrid, 8 November, 2013

Viral infections are the primary cause of liver inflammation or hepatitis, affecting hundreds of millions of people all over the world, and they represent a public health problem worldwide. The acute condition can cause irreversible damage to the liver, and if not cured can become chronic, leading to serious diseases such as cirrhosis or cancer.A study published today in the online edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, and carried out by Erwin Wagner’s team, Director of the BBVA...

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Molecular Cell

A new enzyme capable of replicating damaged DNA chains discovered

Madrid, 25 October, 2013

An international study led by Luis Blanco, from the Spanish National Scientific Research Council (CSIC), together with Juan Méndez, from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and Ian Holt, from the Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom, has discovered a new human enzyme capable of replicating damaged DNA chains. According to this study, published in the latest issue of Molecular Cell, this new DNA polymerase, named PrimPol, might have played a crucial role in the evolution of genomes and...

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Leukemia

New genetic errors could cause one of the most deadly leukaemias

Madrid, 23 October, 2013

Acute dendritic leukaemia is a rare type of leukaemia, but one with the worst prognosis—the average patient survival rate is just 12-14 months—that is difficult to treat. Juan Cruz Cigudosa’s team, from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre’s (CNIO) Molecular Cytogenetics Group, has for the first time sequenced the exome –the coding, or protein‐generating, regions of the genome— of dendritic cell leukaemia.The analyses, published in Leukemia, the world´s leading journal in onco‐...

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The EMBO Journal

CNIO researchers delve into the behaviour of cohesins

Madrid, 18 October, 2013

Cohesins are protein complexes that join the two copies of each chromosome—called sister chromatids—to  ensure that they are shared fairly between the daughter cells during cell division. In this way, each daughter cell receives exactly the same genetic information from the parent cell.Pds5 is a protein associated with cohesins; it binds cohesins along different chromosome regions. In vertebrates there are two variants of Pds5, Pds5A and Pds5B, not very well characterised to date....

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Nature Genetics

Non-infiltrating bladder cancer exome sequenced

Madrid, 14 October, 2013

Bladder cancer represents a serious public health problem in many countries, especially in Spain, where 11,200 new cases are recorded every year, one of the highest rates in the world. The majority of these tumours have a good prognosis—70-80% five-year survival after diagnosis—and they do not infiltrate the bladder muscle at the time of diagnosis—in around 80% of cases.Despite this, many of the tumours recur, requiring periodic cytoscopic tumour surveillance. This type of follow-up affects...

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Hepatology

A new regulator of drug detoxication

Madrid, 11 October, 2013

Drug abuse and alcohol are some of the most frequent causes of liver damage, particularly in developed countries. Such kind of liver damage can cause irreversible liver failure and even cancer. Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered an important new protective role of the Fra-1 protein, which neutralizes the damage caused by agents, such as the analgesic drug acetaminophen (Paracetamol). This is the first study to reveal a function of Fra-1 in...

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PNAS

A new therapeutic target that prevents cell division

Madrid, 8 October, 2013

Cell division is an essential process for the development of an organism. This process, however, can cause tumour growth when it stops working properly. Tumour cells accumulate alterations in their genetic material, and this makes them divide in an uncontrolled fashion, thus encouraging growth of the tumour. Over the past few years, knowledge of the regulation of this process has led to the discovery of new therapeutic strategies based on blocking cell division or mitosis.The Cell Division...

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Genes and Development

CNIO scientists reduce progression of one of the most aggressive skin cancers in mice

Madrid, 27 September, 2013

The c-Fos oncogene has traditionally been linked to cellular activities related to cancer, such as cell division, differentiation-conversion from one cell type to another-or survival. Any alteration of these activities can set off the development of tumours, which has made c-Fos an important target for the understanding and treatment of cancer.A study led by Erwin Wagner, head of the F-BBVA-CNIO Cancer Cell Biology Programme and of the Genes, Development and Disease Group, has revealed a novel...

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Nature

A CNIO group produce embryonic stem cells in living adult organisms

Madrid, 11 September, 2013

A team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has become the first to make adult cells from a living organism retreat in their evolutionary development to recover the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. The results have just been published online by Nature.Researchers have also discovered that these embryonic stem cells, obtained directly from the inside of the organism, have a broader capacity for differentiation than those obtained via in vitro culture. Specifically,...

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European Urology

Three out of every four cases of bladder cancer display mutations in the same gene

Madrid, 9 September, 2013

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered that more than 70% of bladder tumours display somatic mutations in the TERT gene (telomerase reverse transcriptase). The TERT gene is involved in the protection of DNA and in cellular ageing processes and cancer. These results make this gene the most mutated in these tumours, which represent a serious public health problem in Spain, where the highest rates in the world are registered with 11,200 new cases each...

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Cell Reports

A new gene involved in obesity, discovered

Madrid, 20 June, 2013

The discovery of an unexpected function for a gene that was associated to another process in the organism might be a solution in search of a problem, a clue to unsuspected connections. That is what has happened with RAP1, a gene that protects telomeres— the ends of chromosomes—after researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) surprisingly discovered its key role in obesity. “We still don’t know what evolutionary significance to attach to it, but it is at the very least...

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Cell

An article in 'Cell' reveals a new resistance mechanism to chemotherapy in breast and ovarian cancer

Madrid, 18 June, 2013

It is estimated that between 5% and 10% of breast and ovarian cancers are familial in origin, which is to say that these tumours are attributable to inherited mutations from the parents in genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. In patients with these mutations, PARP inhibitors, which are currently in clinical trials, have shown encouraging results that make them a new option for personalised cancer treatment, an alternative to standard chemotherapy. Nevertheless, the latest studies indicate that a...

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PNAS

A set of structures to study the oncogenic potential of EGFR

Madrid, 14 June, 2013

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) researchers have used computational simulations to uncover why tiny mutations in EGFR -epidermal growth factor receptor- can trigger structural and functional changes in the protein associated with certain types of brain and lung cancer. These findings were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).To date, studies have shown that certain EGFR mutations cause cellular aberrations that may eventually...

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Cell

Spanish scientists publish in "Cell" the hallmarks of aging

Madrid, 6 June, 2013

For some species, living twice as long in good health depends on no more than a few genes. When this fact was revealed by studies on worms three decades ago, it ushered in a golden age of ageing studies that has delivered numerous results, but also sown some confusion. The prestigious journal Cell is now publishing an exhaustive review of the subject that aims to set things straight and “serve as a framework for future studies.” All the molecular indicators of ageing in mammals – the nine...

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Molecular Biology and Evolution

Tracking the evolutionary history of a cancer-related gene

Madrid, 6 June, 2013

How and when evolution generates diversity or gives form to proteins, living beings’ functional building blocks, are essential questions that still surround the theory of evolution. In humans, the majority of genes have emerged via genetic duplication, a strategy in which a gene generates two identical copies that can evolve to generate different proteins.A study published today by scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) describes how a genetic duplication that took...

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Nature Communications

A new gene essential for nuclear reprogramming identified

Madrid, 5 June, 2013

Researchers are still fascinated by the idea of the possibility of reprogramming the cells of any tissue, turning them into cells with the capacity to differentiate into cells of a completely different type— pluripotent cells—and they are still striving to understand how it happens. A group from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), headed by researcher Ralph P. Schneider, from the Telomeres and Telomerase Group led by María A. Blasco, publishes this week an article in Nature...

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Cell Reports

The human genome replication is ‘captured’ for the first time

Madrid, 25 April, 2013

The Genomic Instability Group led by researcher Óscar Fernández-Capetillo at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has for the first time obtained a panoramic photo of the proteins that take part in human DNA division, a process known as replication.The research article, published today in the journal Cell Reports, is the result of a collaborative study in which other CNIO groups have also participated, including the Proteomics Unit led by Javier Muñoz and the DNA Replication...

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Journal of Clinical Oncology

First genetic factor in prostate cancer prognosis identified

Madrid, 9 April, 2013

Patients with prostate cancer and hereditary mutations in the BRCA2 gene have a worse prognosis and lower survival rates than do the rest of the patients with the disease. This is the main conclusion to come out of a study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, in which David Olmos, Head of the Prostate Cancer and Genitourinary Tumours Clinical Research Unit at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has taken part in, along with Elena Castro, a member of the Unit,...

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Nature Genetics

New DNA variants that increase the risk for breast, prostate and ovarian cancers

Madrid, 27 March, 2013

The European Collaborative Oncological Gen-Environmental Study (COGS) project, whose main goal is to decipher the complex genetic bases of breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, publishes today a total of 13 research articles in several prestigious journals, including Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, The American Journal of Human Genetics and PLOS Genetics. Using mass sequencing techniques, the study has identified up to 80 new regions of the genome associated with an increased...

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Nature Genetics

Cancer linked to failures in chromosome protection for the first time

Madrid, 17 March, 2013

A study published today in the journal Nature Genetics explores a new mechanism that may contribute to the development of several tumours, including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects more than a thousand new patients in Spain each year. This work, led by researchers Carlos López-Otín, from the University Institute of Oncology at the University of Oviedo; Elías Campo, from the Hospital Clínic/University of Barcelona; and María Blasco, the Director of the Spanish...

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Nature Reviews Genetics

The role of molecular coordination in evolution

Madrid, 5 March, 2013

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) researchers Alfonso Valencia, Director of the Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme and David de Juan, jointly with Florencio Pazos, from the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), will today publish a review on the latest computational methods that, based on evolutionary principles, are revolutionising the field of analysis and prediction of protein structure, function and protein-protein interactions, as well as the short-...

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Cell

A new mechanism that contributes to the evolution of cancer

Madrid, 31 January, 2013

Cancer arises from the accumulation of mutations and structural changes in chromosomes, which in some cases give rise to combinations that favour the growth or expansion of the disease. In this context, chromosomes tend to lose or duplicate entire regions, although, the mechanisms that initiate these chromosomal abnormalities are not fully understood.A study published this week in the journal Cell, in which researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) participated,...

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Nature Review Genetics

The new age of proteomics: an integrative vision of the cellular world

Madrid, 17 January, 2013

The enormous complexity of biological processes requires the use of high-performance technologies —also known as ‘-omics’—, that are capable of carrying out complete integrated analyses of the thousands of molecules that cells are made up of, and of studying their role in illnesses. In the post-genomic age we find ourselves in, the comprehensive study of cellular proteins —prote-omics— acquires a new dimension, as proteins are the molecular executors of genes and, therefore, the most important...

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