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CNIO Publications, Year 2016

PNAS

Secrets of human protein interactions unveiled by massive sequencing and coevolution

Madrid, 15 December, 2016

Cells operate like an incredibly well-synchronized orchestra of molecular interactions among proteins. Understanding this molecular network is essential not only to understand how an organism works but also to determine the molecular mechanisms responsible for a multitude of diseases. In fact, it has been observed that protein interacting regions are preferentially mutated in tumours. The investigation of many of these interactions is challenging. However, a study coordinated by Simone Marsili...

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Science

Tissue damage is key for cell reprogramming

Madrid, 24 November, 2016

Cell reprogramming does not happen exactly as we thought. In the pages of the journal Science, a team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has shown that tissue damage is a relevant factor for cells to go back to an embryonic state. Cell reprogramming earned its discoverer, Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize and opened the door to regenerative medicine. This technique, based on introducing a combination of four genes known as OSKM (for the initials of the genes, OCT4,...

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Nature Communications

A protein that defines the melanoma blueprint

Madrid, 18 November, 2016

The main goals of the Melanoma Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) are to identify biomarkers of tumour progression and to validate novel therapeutic targets in melanoma. In particular, their research focuses on discovering features that define the "fingerprint" of this tumour, features that distinguish it from other cancer types. The latest study in this area, published in Nature Communications, describes the roles of CPEB4; a protein that is crucial for melanoma cell...

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Cell Press

The CNIO takes part in the biggest european project for the study of the epigenome

Madrid, 17 November, 2016

The International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) publishes simultaneously a collection of 41 papers that contain major advances in the study of the human epigenome - 24 of which appear today in Cell Press magazines. The Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme together with the National Bioinformatics Institute Unit at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) participated in several studies, leading three of them. One of the great mysteries in biology is how the many...

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Scientific Reports

CNIO and Eli Lilly and Company identifie a new therapeutic target for lung cancer

Madrid, 10 October, 2016

Cancer is a different disease in each patient, and improved treatment demands knowing more about the personal characteristics of each tumor. A CNIO team has discovered a new alteration in lung cancer, and thus a new therapeutic target to develop specific drugs. The finding is therefore a step towards customizing the treatment of lung cancer.The work, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the CNIO with Lilly.The reported alteration...

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Trends in Biochemical Sciences

Scientists at the CNIO have deconstructed one of the myths of biological innovation

Madrid, 3 October, 2016

While the number of coding genes (those that produce proteins) in the human species has been consistently dwindling in recent years - the figures have fallen to fewer than 20,000-, it has been claimed that the dimension of the proteome, the element that executes the instructions in the genome, could be larger. This diversity of proteins has become one of the main sources of complexity in mammals, including the human species. This theory could have an expiry date according to a study headed...

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Clinical Cancer Research

A marker can identify patients who will not benefit from treatment with antiangiogenic drugs

Madrid, 19 September, 2016

Many cancer patients receive antiangiogenic agents as part of their treatment. However, the response to these agents varies. They are very effective in some cases but, in others, they can even be harmful. Consequently, it is important to identify each patient's situation as soon as possible. A randomised phase II clinical trial promoted by the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in collaboration with the Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group (GEICAM) and 16 hospitals has demonstrated...

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Science Signaling

ATR inhibitors prove effective in two pre-clinical models of cancer

Madrid, 13 September, 2016

Tumours are an accumulation of cells that divide without control, accumulating hundreds of chromosomal alterations and mutations in their DNA. These alterations are triggered in part by a type of damage to the DNA known as replicative stress. To survive in the face of this chaos, tumour cells need the intervention of the damage response protein ATR, known for its role as guardian of genome integrity, to which they become addicted. After eight years of work, Oscar Fernández-Capetillo’s team at...

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Molecular Cell

A gene essential for the DNA-replication process discovered

Madrid, 1 September, 2016

Millions of cells in our body are constantly dividing to repair tissue damage and ensure our continuity. This is one of the most complex processes that cells go through and, in order for it to be successful, they must, among other things, produce a copy of their genetic material (DNA). Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered the critical role of the POLD3 protein in this DNA-replication process; without POLD3 cells do not divide, they die, and even...

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Nature Communications

TERRA, the RNAs that protect telomeres

Madrid, 17 August, 2016

Despite their especially compact structure that is difficult to access, telomeres transcribe information like the rest of the DNA. The RNAs resulting from this process are called TERRA and their function is essential in preserving these protective structures. This is the conclusion of a new study by the Telomere and Telomerase Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), which has also located the part of the human genome where these molecules are "manufactured".This finding is...

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Cancer Cell

CNIO researchers have discovered a mechanism that allows cancer to survive without glucose

Madrid, 8 August, 2016

The main goal of a tumour cell is, above all, to survive, even at the cost of damaging the health of the organism to which it belongs. To do this, it is equipped with skills that healthy cells do not have, including the ability to continue surviving when glucose levels are very low. This could be one of the reasons why widely-used anti-angiogenic agents often fail to eliminate cancer, no matter how much they starve it by hindering the development of the blood vessels that provide nutrients in...

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Genome Biology

From happiness on Twitter to DNA organisation

Madrid, 3 August, 2016

Twitter users who are happy tend to be more connected with other happy users. This is the confirmation of a property of social networks known as assortativity: a measure of to what extent people who tend to connect with each other share certain characteristics. A study conceived by Vera Pancaldi and Daniel Rico from the Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by Alfonso Valencia, has redefined this measure in order to better...

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Autophagy

CNIO scientists have discovered a specific molecular biomarker for malignant melanoma

Madrid, 28 July, 2016

Visualizing the number of copies of ATG5 in melanoma cells. The image corresponds to nucleus (in blue) of melanoma cells stained for FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization). The red dots correspond to ATG5 and the green ones to another gene in the same chromosome. Note the reduced number of ATG5 (red dots)./ CNIOMelanoma is one of the types of cancer that poses the greatest challenge to researchers because it manifests itself in many ways, it contains a large number of mutations and displays...

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Cancer Cell

CNIO researchers describe inflammatory mechanisms linked to liver cancer

Madrid, 11 July, 2016

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a serious hepatic condition that precedes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and is currently untreatable. A study conducted at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) shows that a proinflammatory molecule, IL-17A, is a key factor in the development of this pathology, and points out that blocking IL-17A or inhibiting cells that secrete IL-17A with drugs such as digoxin (an antiarrhythmic agent) may be useful to prevent NASH in patients susceptible...

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JCI Insight

Various miRNAs predict the effect of anti-angiogenic agents on kidney cancer

Madrid, 7 July, 2016

A team of CNIO researchers, in collaboration with the Spanish Oncology Genitourinary Group (SOGUG) and the University Hospitals Leuven (Belgium), has discovered various potential biomarkers predictive of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) response in metastatic renal cancer. In their study, published in JCI Insight, the researchers identify various miRNAs that define a group of patients refractory to TKI treatment -a type of anti-angiogenic agent widely used to treat renal cell carcinoma- and...

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Cell Reports

A mechanism that reverses resistance to antiangiogenic drugs discovered

Madrid, 9 June, 2016

Researchers from the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Unit at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have just published an important finding regarding antiangiogenic drugs, one of the most commonly used drug types to treat cancer. In a paper published in Cell Reports they describe a resistance mechanism to these compounds and, more importantly, a way to revert it. Working on mouse models with spontaneous breast and lung cancer, they noted that adding an antidiabetic agent to the...

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Nature Communications

Mice with hyper-long telomeres without altering the genes

Madrid, 2 June, 2016

Representative image from eye of chimeric mice. Green cells are those with hyper-long telomeres. Telomeres appear in red. / CNIOThe Telomeres and Telomerase Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), in collaboration with the Centre’s Transgenic Mice Core Unit, has succeeded in creating mice in the laboratory with hyper-long telomeres and with reduced molecular ageing, avoiding the use of what to date has been the standard method: genetic manipulation. This new technique based...

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Molecular Cell

A new mechanism of resistance to chemotherapy, discovered

Madrid, 7 April, 2016

The occurrence of chemotherapy resistance is one of the major reasons for failure in cancer treatment. A study led by Óscar Fernández-Capetillo, Head of the Genomic Instability Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has identified a new determinant of chemotherapy resistance. In this regard, they employed ATR kinase inhibitors, which were previously described by the group as a cancer treatment strategy, and that could be tested on humans as early as 2017, according to the...

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Science Translational Medicine

Psoriasis is linked to general bone loss

Madrid, 16 March, 2016

Researchers from the Genes, Development and Disease Group, headed by Erwin Wagner at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered that psoriasis patients experience a widespread bone loss as a result of the disease. In addition, this paper, which is being published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, describes the molecular communication that is established between the inflamed skin and loss of bone mass. This discovery highlights the possibility to treat...

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Nature Communications

A global increase in antioxidant defences of the body may delay ageing

Madrid, 15 March, 2016

The gradual accumulation of cell damage plays a very important role in the origin of ageing. There are many sources of cellular damage, however, which ones are really responsible for ageing and which ones are inconsequential for ageing is a question that still lacks an answer.The Oxidative Hypothesis of Ageing — also known as the Free Radicals Hypothesis — was put forward in 1956 by Denham Harman. Since then, the large majority of attempts to prove that oxidative damage is relevant for ageing...

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Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

A code of signals that regulates genome duplication, discovered

Madrid, 7 March, 2016

Three years ago, the research team directed by Óscar Fernández-Capetillo, Head of the Genomic Instability Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), obtained, for the first time, a panoramic view of the proteins that intervene in one of the most important and delicate cellular processes: the copying of genetic material during cellular division (link to the press release). They observed that the parts of the genome where the DNA was copied were also very rich in the...

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Blood

Fighting aplastic anaemia with a therapy designed to delay ageing

Madrid, 23 February, 2016

Aplastic anaemia is a rare, and potentially fatal, disease of the blood, by which the bone marrow is unable to generate blood cells at the appropriate pace. Many forms of aplastic anaemia share an important link with the ageing process: the shortening of telomeres, structures that protect the ends of chromosomes. Four years ago, a group at the CNIO created a new anti-ageing therapy based on repairing the telomeres. Now, the same researchers have proven that this therapy may be effective against...

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Nature Medicine

The most aggressive type of lung cancer, reduced in preclinical models

Madrid, 10 February, 2016

Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer, with more than 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year in Spain. Lung adenocarcinomas carrying oncogenic KRAS, the engine driving these tumours in 30% of cases, constitute the most aggressive sub-type because, unlike other types of lung cancer, there are no targeted therapies beyond the standard cisplatin-based treatment.Researchers of the Experimental Oncology Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), headed by Mariano...

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Nature Communications

New tumour markers for the prognosis of head and neck cancer

Madrid, 3 February, 2016

Head and neck cancers include a heterogeneous group of tumours located in the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx. Despite therapeutic progress, the survival rate of patients with this pathology has hardly improved in the last decade. Many researchers are focusing on understanding the molecular biology of these tumours to improve their prognosis and treatment."One problem is the stratification of patients, which in many cases is limited to a clinical classification, not a molecular one," argue...

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Cell Reports

Using the Internet network theory to decipher the first epigenetic communication network

Madrid, 28 January, 2016

One of the big questions for which there is still no clear answer in biology is how, based on the four universal letters that make up DNA, it is possible to generate such different organisms as a fly or a human, or the different organs and tissues they comprise. In recent years, researchers have discovered that the system is much more complicated than was originally thought. The letters are important, but histones and nucleotide chemical modifications can make up genetic instructions to...

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Nature Communications

A possible new pharmacological target for one of the most important and elusive oncogenes founded

Madrid, 5 January, 2016

The MYC oncogene intervenes in many types of cancer, some of which are very aggressive; researchers suspect that controlling its activity could open avenues to new treatments. However, MYC is an especially complex oncogene that has resisted therapeutic manipulation to date. Researchers of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have now managed to identify a protein that is essential for MYC to cause cancer in mouse models, and they believe that it could be a new target for future...

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