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Oncology and haematology: research

Today we can only offer better care through research. 

The research projects we carry out aim to answer the questions posed by oncologists when they treat children suffering from developmental cancer. This is called translational research and focusses on brining scientific advances to the patient as quickly as possible.

Thanks to this, the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital is able to offer all techniques for molecular diagnosis and disease prognosis to our patients, while working to develop new, more effective and less aggressive therapies for children suffering from cancer.

Main research projects

Neuroblastoma

The research group focussed on studying the origin of neuroblastoma, creating a molecular classification of its various subtypes by analysing its genetic expression and improving the treatment of patients affected by advanced or relapsed neuroblastoma through a specific monoclonal antibody.

Main ongoing projects:

  • Analysis of markers for prognosis and prediction of therapeutic response in neuroblastoma. Mechanisms involved in chemoresistance.
  • Gene/phenotype study of cell subtypes in this tumour.
  • Clinical trial with anti-GD2 immunotherapy.
  • Assessment of the calcium-sensing receptor as a new tumour suppressor and therapeutic target.
  • Epigenetics in the pathogenesis of neuroblastoma: new molecular perspectives for the development of therapeutic strategies.

Research in diffuse brainstem tumour (DBSG), Gliomatosis Cerebri

DBSG is one of the few paediatric tumours for which no curative treatment currently exists. Its location and diffuse nature make surgery impossible, and more than 90% of patients die within two years from diagnosis.

We have launched the first clinical trial in the world with autologous dendritic cell vaccines for DBSG patients.

Main ongoing projects:

  • Pre-clinical immunotherapy projects.
  • Nanotechnology to cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • Assessment of treatments using pre-clinical pharmacology in animal models.
  • Clinical trial: immunotherapy with autologous dendritic cells pulsed with heterologous DBSG cell lines.

Ewing's sarcoma

The survival rate for patients with Ewing's sarcoma without metastasis is 70%. With metastasis, the prognosis is very poor. We are researching:

  • Generation of animal models from primary tumours.
  • Search for validation and clinical translation of new therapeutic strategies: study of the role of polycomb complexes in the tumourigenesis of Ewing's sarcoma.
  • RING1b as a new biomarker of the origin of Ewing's sarcoma.

Retinoblastoma

We have two ongoing innovative clinical trials:

  • Ensayo clínico con quimioterapia intraarterial. This treatment allows the eye affected by the disease to be preserved. 
  • Clinical trial with oncolytic virus VCN001 for patient with refractory disease.

Leukaemia

The main lines of research are:

  • Study of molecular pathways that regulate haematopoietic stems cells in certain paediatric leukaemias.
  • Creation of a national network of centres for the biological study and follow-up of minimum residual disease in acute paediatric leukaemia.
  • Anti-tumour immunotherapy protocol (CART-19).
  • Study on the effects of treatment toxicity on patients with leukaemia.

Histiocytosis

Our research is focussed on the study of the BRAF pathway in the development of histiocytosis:

  • Studies of its spread in bone marrow and plasma.
  • Study of specific inhibitory treatments for the same.

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Main ongoing projects:

  • Preclinical pharmacology in models of rhabdomyosarcoma primary tumours from our patients.
  • Preclinical development of dual IGF1/2 inhibitor treatment.

Shared projects

We are also participating in shared research projects for various types of tumours:

  • Precision therapy. Study of chromosomal anomalies using microarrys (Cytoscan) technology and exome sequencing for specific panels (Imegen) or whole exome sequencing (CNAG).
  • Assessment of new nanotechnology-based systems for administering medications in paediatric solid tumours.
  • Treatment of patients with refractory or relapsed tumours based on pre-clinical pharmacological study in animal models.
  • Innovation in cancer surgery.
Having a research laboratory at the service of our patients is key to offering the most advanced treatments.
Jaume Mora Graupera
Thanks to research, currently 80% of cases are cured, but we still do not have the answer for many children. We need more effective and less toxic treatments.
Ofelia Cruz Martínez
The vast majority of the public and private resources intended for cancer research focus on adult cancer. Children are very much forgotten.
Glòria Garcia Castellvi

The greatest recognition: that of our patients

They help us further our research

The majority of oncology therapies and treatments are not tested in children. As childhood cancers are rare diseases, very few resources are set aside to research them.

More and more patients and families are driving initiatives to fund the research that we conduct at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital. 

The source of 70% of our research budget is donations from families of patients. Thanks to research, currently 80% of cases are cured, but for many children medicine still does not have an answer.

They help us improve our facilities

Many public figures, companies and institutions have donated to make it possible to have the new day hospital where children with cancer receive outpatient treatment.

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