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CNIO Publications, Year 2015

Nature

The first 'molecular labels' that predict the organs where metastases will form

Madrid, 28 October, 2015

Understanding why a tumour metastasises in specific organs and do not in others is one of the top goals of oncology, and also one of the oldest. 126 years ago, the British physician, Stephen Paget, formulated his seed and soil theory, which advocates that metastasis requires the dispersal of tumour cells, seeds, aswell as a welcoming environment, fertile soil, in the recipient organ. However, since then “the progress made in deciphering the mechanisms that guide metastasis to specific organs...

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PNAS

A new algorithm to predict the dynamic language of proteins

Madrid, 22 October, 2015

Researchers from the Structural Biology Computational Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by Alfonso Valencia, in collaboration with a group headed by Francesco Gervasio at the University College London (UK), have developed the first computational method based on evolutionary principles to predict protein dynamics, which explains the changes in the shape or dimensional structure that they experience in order to interact with other compounds or speed up chemical...

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Cell Reports

A link between a rare form of anaemia and cancer, discovered

Madrid, 15 October, 2015

Researchers from the Tumour Suppression Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), headed by Manuel Serrano, have discovered the molecular mechanisms that determine cancer predisposition in patients with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA). To achieve this, they have created the first animal model that recapitulates key characteristics of this type of anaemia in humans, including high cancer susceptibility. The finding, published today in the journal Cell Reports, could potentially...

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Nature Communications

A new avenue for combating the deterioration in blood stem cells

Madrid, 13 October, 2015

A research conducted by Juan Méndez, Head of the DNA Replication Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), sheds light on the molecular mechanisms of ageing of the stem cells responsible for regenerating blood cells and opens up a new avenue for reducing their progressive functional decline with age. In the medium or long term, it may also pave the way for the development of therapies to control aplastic anaemia, one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy and...

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EMBO Journal

A new player in tumour suppression and ageing

Madrid, 7 October, 2015

A study conducted by the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre´s (CNIO) Genomic Instability Group, led by Óscar Fernández-Capetillo, describes for the first time in mammals, the role played by the SMC5/6 protein complex in cancer suppression and premature ageing. Mutations in these complexes, which were sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents, had been previously described in yeast cells, but their exact relationship with cancer or other diseases in mammals was unknown. Researchers from the...

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Nature Communications

A mutated gene has been found in families with multiple tumours, including cardiac angiosarcoma

Madrid, 25 September, 2015

A few years ago, Javier Benítez, director of the Human Genetics Group at the CNIO, received a call from Pablo García Pavía, from the Cardiology Unit of the Puerta de Hierro University Hospital. This cardiologist was treating two brothers with a rare form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma (CAS). Could the experts in genetics do something? “At that time we tried a few ideas, but unsuccessfully,” says Benítez. We have had to wait for modern genome analysis techniques to discover the...

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Nature Cell Biology

Attacking bioenergetic metabolism to improve anti-cancer therapies using taxol

Madrid, 31 August, 2015

Cancel cells become addicted to glucose, which they use as their regular source of energy to grow and develop. Although this was observed over nine decades ago by the German physiologist, Otto Warburg; there is still not therapeutic strategy today that can effectively take advantage of this special energy requirement. The initial approach appears to be simple: the lack of glucose could specifically induce the death of cancer cells.A new study by the Cell Division and Cancer Group of the Spanish...

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Nature Communications

Potentially safer stem cells are generated in the laboratory

Madrid, 26 August, 2015

Damaged tissue, such as pancreas, heart, and neuronal tissue, which is regenerated to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or neurodegenerative diseases. This is one of the ambitious scenarios to which regenerative medicine aspires and that is being announced as one of the great promises of twenty-first century biomedicine for the treatment of a long list of diseases affecting people today. The focal point is the use of stem cells, which are capable of producing different types of cells or...

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TIBS

Defective telomeres are now being linked to dozens of diseases

Madrid, 15 July, 2015

Studying telomeres, the structures that protect the ends of chromosomes, has become a key issue in biology. In recent years, not only has their relation to ageing been confirmed; defective telomeres seem to be linked to more and more illnesses, including many types of cancer. The review published by Paula Martínez and María Blasco from the CNIO in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, stresses the importance of investigating these structures to improve diagnoses and develop possible treatments for...

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Cell Reports

Telomeres are linked to the origins of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Madrid, 2 July, 2015

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) causes a gradual loss of respiratory capacity and can be lethal within a few years. The cause is unknown, although it can be attributed to a combination of genetics and the environment. A team of researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have now discovered that telomeres, the structures that protect the chromosomes, are at the origin of pulmonary fibrosis. This is the first time that telomere damage has been identified as a cause of...

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EMBO Molecular Medicine

CNIO scientists are able to take immortality from cancer

Madrid, 13 May, 2015

Scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered a new strategy to fight cancer, which is very different from those described to date. Their work shows for the first time that telomeres — the structures protecting the ends of the chromosomes — may represent an effective anti-cancer target: by blocking the TRF1 gene, which is essential for the telomeres, they have shown dramatic improvements in mice with lung cancer.“Telomere uncapping is emerging as a potential...

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Cell Reports

Evidence of the importance of telomeres in plant stem cells

Madrid/Barcelona, 30 April, 2015

The role played by telomeres in mammalian cells has been known for several years. It is also known that these non-coding DNA sequences, which are found at the ends of the chromosomes, protect them and are necessary to ensure correct cell division. What is more, the “youngest” cells have longer telomeres, and as these cells divide, the telomeres get shorter until they no longer permit new cell divisions. This telomere shortening process has also been associated with cancer, which emphasises the...

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Reviews Clinical Oncology

The past, present and future of pancreatic cancer research and treatment

Madrid, 23 April, 2015

The oncologists Manuel Hidalgo, Director of the Clinical Research Programme of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), and Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, member of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah (USA), have recently published a review of state-of-the- art clinical treatments for pancreatic cancer − including the most current therapies and innovative research − in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Reviews Clinical...

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Journal of Hepatology

Telomeres linked to the origins of liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis

Madrid, 16 April, 2015

Telomeres are DNA regions at the ends of our chromosomes that protect the genetic data of cells, preventing mutations and alterations in the DNA that could potentially cause disease. Telomeres shorten throughout life in a process involving both genetic and environmental factors. Telomere dysfunction —alterations in the structure and/or functioning of telomeres— is one of the molecular mechanisms underlying a number of age-related diseases but, to date, little is known about its possible role in...

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Developmental Cell

Oncogene regulated by nutrients identified

Madrid, 13 April, 2015

Scientists from the Growth Factors, Nutrients and Cancer Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), led by Nabil Djouder, have discovered that the MCRS1 protein, in response to an excess of nutrients, induces an increase in the activity of mTOR (the mammalian/mechanistic Target of Rapamycin); a protein that is altered in human diseases such as cancer and diabetes, processes associated with ageing, as well as in certain cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies. The...

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Genes & Development

Doubling of life span in mice with premature ageing

Madrid, 1 April, 2015

Ageing is an intrinsic part of life and is the result, among other phenomena, of progressive accumulative damage within cellular DNA. In 2009 researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) under the leadership of Óscar Fernández-Capetillo described how mice with low levels of the ATR protein, essential for the repair of damaged DNA, age faster than normal. A research manuscript published today by the same team in Genes & Development describes a method to rescue the...

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JNCI

A new gene involved in hereditary neuroendocrine tumours identified

Madrid, 30 March, 2015

Researchers in the Hereditary Endocrine Cancer Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) — led by Alberto Cascón and Mercedes Robledo — have described the presence of mutations in the MDH2 gene, in a family with very rare neuroendocrine tumours associated with a high hereditary component: pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas that affect the suprarenal and parathyroid glands (groups of chromaffin cells in the central nervous system), respectively. This research has been...

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Cell Metabolism

The CNIO develops an anti-obesity treatment in animal models

Madrid, 26 March, 2015

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have shown that partial pharmacological inhibition of the PI3K enzyme in obese mice and monkeys reduces body weight and physiological manifestations of metabolic syndrome, specifically diabetes and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), without any signs of side effects or toxicities. The work, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, is a collaborative project between the Tumor Suppression Group headed by Manuel Serrano at...

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Genome Medicine

Aggressiveness of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is linked to genetic variability

Madrid, 5 February, 2015

The genetic variability of a tumour could be a predictor for its aggressiveness: the greater the variability in gene expression, the more aggressive the tumour is likely to be. This is the hypothesis that the CNIO Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme, led by Alfonso Valencia, is testing, after their findings on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), now published in the journal Genome Medicine.The team analysed gene expression in two cohorts of patients with CLL, the most common blood...

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Nucleic Acids Research

Broadening the catalogue of biological chimeras for the study of the genome

Madrid, 29 January, 2015

Scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre’s Structural Computational Biology Group, led by Alfonso Valencia, are making the largest ever catalogue of biological chimeras available to the public domain. Specifically, the new database comprises a collection of more than 29,000 small RNA molecules—those envolved in making proteins—that originate from different genomic regions. These molecules, the so-called chimeric RNAs, could reveal useful markers for the clinical oncology...

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Developmental Cell

A new blood platelet formation mechanism discovered

Madrid, 26 January, 2015

Thrombocytopenia is a disease characterised by a lower platelet level than normal. Platelets are tiny cells that participate in the coagulation of blood. Patients usually suffer uncontrolled bleeding that gives rise to hematomas and haemorrhages, and even death. Understanding how these cells are produced by the body, then, could be of great use for alleviating the illness, whose incidence increases exponentially in those patients who undergo chemotherapy. Such is the gravity of the symptoms in...

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Genes & Development

CNIO researchers discover a novel molecular mechanism involved in the formation of the skin

Madrid, 15 January, 2015

The formation of human skin involves a cascade of biochemical signals, which are not well understood. However, they are very important since their failure may cause diseases, such as Atopic Dermatitis and Skin Cancers, which affect more than 25% of the human population. CNIO researchers now discovered a new mechanism that regulates the differentiation of keratinocytes, the cells that make up most of the epidermis of the skin. Additionally, they show that this mechanism might be involved in Skin...

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Clinical Cancer Research

Link found between rare variants of a gene and side effects from chemotherapy with paclitaxel

Madrid, 14 January, 2015

Paclitaxel is a chemotherapeutic drug that has been shown to be highly effective when treating solid tumours, such as breast, ovarian and lung tumours. However, its use frequently causes peripheral neuropathies, neurological problems that affect the vast majority of patients. Symptoms include tingling and pain in the extremities, cramping, muscular weakness and difficulty walking, in addition to others. In severe cases, the severity of these adverse effects mandates dosage reduction, and even...

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The Journal of Clinical Investigation

One of the genetic pieces of bladder cancer discovered

Madrid, 12 January, 2015

Notch genes are a double-edged sword: in some cancers they have a harmful effect because they promote tumour growth, whilst in others they act as tumour suppressors. The reason is still unclear, making it impossible to predict the behaviour of Notch within each tumour, and complicating its use as a drug target. Now, CNIO researchers clear this dilemma up for bladder cancer, in which it exerts an anti-tumour effect. This result calls for caution when using therapeutic strategies based on the...

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