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All donations to the CNIO go to the CNIO Friends program, which allows us to hire outstanding young researchers and open new lines of research with which to understand, diagnose and tackle cancer effectively. Each of your contributions has a real and direct impact.

Thank you for your support, together we will be able to stop cancer! We present here some of the CNIO Friends researchers:

Laura Nogues
Laura Nogues PhD: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO) (Spain)
The main goal of my research is to find new targets to block melanoma metastasis and prevent relapse of therapy resistant tumors, the main causes of death of melanoma patients. In particular, my project aims to analyze the use of the NGFR small molecule inhibitor (THX-B) as anti-metastatic therapy in melanoma, alone or in combination with current immunotherapies, and the mechanisms underlying these events.
Diana Vara
Diana Vara PhD: Alcalá University (Spain)
I explore how MASTL-PP2A/B55, a pathway involved in mitosis, regulates metabolism. Given that metabolic changes have implications in cancer but also in other western diseases, these analyses might provide new therapeutic targets to prevent and to treat these illness, improving patients’ lives.
Yurena Vivas
Yurena Vivas PhD: Rey Juan Carlos University (Spain)
“My project will explore whether the microenvironment determines cell malignant transformation beyond the effect of mutations or in combination with them, in the context of pancreatic carcinoma”. Yurena aims to understand the possible contribution of non-autonomous factors to pancreatic cancer progression.
Ana María Roncero
Ana María Roncero PhD: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
“I do research with patient derived tumor organoids from metastatic breast cancer patients”. Ana’s objective is to find better targeted and personalized therapies for patients with advanced Triple Negative (TNNBC) and hormone positive breast tumors.
Albert Harguindey
Albert Harguindey PhD: University of Colorado Boulder (USA)
CNIO Friends – Fondation Franz Weber contract
“I work in elucidating the 3D structure and providing an atomic model of the Unconventional Prefoldin RPB5 interactor-like (URI) protein complex”. Albert is looking for the structural basis for the role of URI in cancer and aims to propose novel therapeutic strategies by disrupting the complex interactions.
Federico Virga
Federico Virga University of Torino & VIB-Center for Cancer Biology, KU Leuven (Italy & Belgium)
“My project will centre on how to increase the anti-tumoral response of the immune system in the context of pancreatic and lung tumours induced by KRAS oncogenes”. The research of Federico aims to improve the treatment of these tumours, which are among the most aggressive and lethal cancer types.
María Magdalena Leal
María Magdalena Leal PhD: University of Seville, Spain
CNIO Friends Contract - Fundación Humanismo y Ciencia.
“I study how melanoma acts at a distance before metastasis and evades the immune system in different anatomical structures.” Magdalena’s research has a particular emphasis on the role of MIDKINE in different cell populations of the bone marrow.
Rubén Martínez
Rubén Martínez PhD: University College London, UK
"I investigate how RET oncogene activity is altered in certain cancer types, such as lung and breast cancer, as well as neuroblastoma." Rubén aims to find compounds capable of inhibiting this gene that could provide more effective treatments against these types of tumours.
María José Andreu
María José Andreu PhD: University of Barcelona, Spain
“I study the contribution of STAG2 mutations to aggressive Ewing Sarcoma (EWS), which is the second most frequent type of bone cancer in children.” Maria’s goal is to understand how STAG2 mutations promote the metastatic phenotype to likelly improve the clinical management and the outcome of EWS patients with metastatic disease.
Sergio Muñoz
Sergio Muñoz PhD: Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
“I study how cells regulate the initiation of DNA replication to ensure the correct inheritance of genetic material”. Sergio aims to understand the mechanisms that prevent improper reduplication of genomic regions leading to genetic instability, a phenomenon that usually fuels different type of cancers.
Eunjeong Kim
Eunjeong Kim PhD: Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea
"I explore the novel mechanism between liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.” The aim of Kim’s project is to provide a new treatment option for liver cancer patients.
Sofía Cabezudo
Sofía Cabezudo PhD: Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
“I study the structural and molecular bases for the regulation of the mTOR signalling pathway by molecular chaperones.” Sofía’s project explores new potential strategies to target the mTOR pathway against cancer progression.
Elena Fueyo
Elena Fueyo Pre-Doctoral Researcher
CNIO Friends Contract - María Oliva.
“I investigate the molecular ‘disguises’ and ‘breaks’ that allow tumor cells to avoid an attack from the immune system.” Understanding the biology of these mechanisms is essential for the development of effective immunotherapies against cancer.
Moustafa Ahmed Shehata
Moustafa Ahmed Shehata Pre-Doctoral Researcher
CNIO Friends Contract - Carmen Gloria Bonet.
"I study how the RET protein works, as it plays an important role in neuroblastoma, a type of fatal childhood cancer (15%) that affects the cells of the adrenal gland and the peripheral nervous system." Moustafa investigates personalised therapeutic strategies in the treatment of this aggressive tumor.

Previous ‘CNIO Friends’ contracts

María Moreno
María Moreno PhD: University of Bordeaux, France
"I study the three-dimensional structure of CAD, a protein that is highly expressed in cancer." María analyses how genetic mutations affect the structure of this protein, to develop new therapies for treatment.
Sarita Saraswati
Sarita Saraswati PhD: University of Delhi, India
"I study the role of telomere dysfunction in the origin of kidney and liver fibrosis, which in its advanced stages may lead to cancer in these organs." Sarita’s goal is to find new therapies for the treatment of these diseases.
Giussepe Bosso
Giussepe Bosso PhD: La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
"I study the role of post-translational modifications of shelterin proteins in telomere maintenance." Giuseppe´s goal is to identify novel pathways and kinases whose activity is required for chromosome end protection.
Rebeca Jimeno
Rebeca Jimeno PhD: Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
CNIO Friends Contract – Eva Plaza.
"I investigate the potential of immunology as a strategy against breast cancer, specifically in Triple Negative tumors (TNBC) for a better understanding of its evolution”. Rebeca’s research aims to identify treatments targeted to the tumor with fewer side effects than current therapies.
Neibla Priego
Neibla Priego PhD: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
"I explore therapeutic and diagnostic options for brain metastasis." These metastases arise in 10-40% of all cancer cases originating from different organs. Neibla is the first author of a study that describes how a compound called silibinin can reduce them.
Carolina Maestre
Carolina Maestre PhD: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
“We have identified a molecule involved in the survival of tumour cells when they divide. Our working hypothesis is that if we can manage to inhibit the action of those molecules, it should keep the tumour from spreading.” Carolina is looking closely at what could prove to be a new target for pharmacological-based cancer treatments.
Irene Felipe
Irene Felipe PhD: Universidad de Sevilla, Spain (Juegaterapia Foundation Fellow)
CNIO Friends Contract - Fundación Juegaterapia.
“I study neuroblastoma, one of the most frequent tumors in children.” Irene hopes that the molecular findings and the translational aspects of the project, such as the identification of therapeutic strategies and the development of biomarkers, have their application in clinic in the near future.
Miguel Jiménez Alcázar
Miguel Jiménez Alcázar PhD: University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany (Juegaterapia Foundation Fellow)
CNIO Friends Contract - Fundación Juegaterapia.
“I have undertaken a study focusing on gliomas, cerebral tumours common in children and adolescents.” Miguel’s goal is to see that the results are transferred to the clinical sphere, where they can contribute to increasing patients’ survival rates and improving the quality of life.
Sebastián Thompson
Sebastián Thompson PhD: City University of New York (CUNY), USA
“I am examining the process by which nanoparticles can be used to transport medication to a specific location in the body, on account of their enhanced ability to reach the compromised cells.” Sebastián’s work involves searching for the best way to make certain that the greatest possible number of nanoparticles actually make it all the way to the tumour location.