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Oncology: research and clinical trials

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 and adolescents suffering from developmental cancer. This is called translational research and focusses on bringing scientific advances to the patient as quickly as possible.

Research in the Oncology Area is carried out through the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD), where more than 50 professionals, including researchers and technicians, work in the Developmental Cancer Research Laboratory, founded in 2003, which is now part of the Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital.

We have a pediatric tumour bank that is of great value for research and investigation. In the laboratory, molecular techniques and genomic technology are applied, which allow the analysis of the gene expression of tumours and open new options in the fields of patient diagnosis and prognosis.

With a research team which is fully integrated with the healthcare team, with more than 20 years of experience in translational research, our cutting-edge research, clinical trials and treatments allow our specialists to provide the safest and most effective care possible to our patients.

What characterises our research?

Use of pre-clinical models

Patient samples are processed in the laboratory to evaluate the efficacy and safety of new treatments, before the clinical phase.

The pediatric tumour bank

This is a key piece in our research, since the study of patients' tumours is the first step to achieving results.

The Clinical Trials Unit

We have the first Clinical Trials Unit in Spain focusing on paediatrics, with a substantial volume of patients and trials.

Thanks to all of this, the Developmental Cancer Research Laboratory is able to offer techniques for precision diagnosis and disease prognosis to our patients, while working to develop more effective and less aggressive therapies for children suffering from cancer.

Precision diagnosis

Innovative diagnostic techniques allow us to identify therapeutic targets and offer personalised therapies.

  • Molecular diagnosis: We have a Molecular Oncology Laboratory specialising in the genetic characterisation of solid tumours which allows us to offer patients a more personalised and appropriate treatment based on the genetic abnormalities of their tumour.
  • Diagnostic imaging: Our Diagnostic Imaging Area specialises in the study of paediatric oncological imaging biomarkers that enable us to have non-invasive anatomical, metabolic and functional information, thus increasing the precision of the initial diagnosis while also establishing patient prognosis and follow-up. We also have intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging in our surgical wing that allows us to improve surgical precision and safety.
  • Nuclear medicine: This allows us to perform very important diagnostic tests in a set of paediatric oncological diseases. It is applied for the detection and determination of the extent of the disease, for monitoring or for the detection of relapses. Moreover, not only is it useful for diagnostic purposes, but it is also useful in the treatment of certain solid tumours.

Advanced therapies

We have a high capability to develop advanced therapies in childhood oncology which are available in very few centres worldwide.

Visit to the Childhood Cancer Research Laboratory at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

Did you know that, unlike cancer in adults, childhood cancer is a random and unpredictable disease? We take a look inside the laboratory at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital, the epicentre of childhood cancer research.

The greatest recognition: that of our patients

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. Some 70% of our research budget comes from donations from patients' families. Thanks to research, currently 80% of cases are cured, but medicine still does not have the answer for many children.

Having a research laboratory at the service of our patients is key to offering the most advanced treatments.
Jaume Mora Graupera, Oncology Area Scientific Director
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, oncologist at the Oncology Area
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, head of the Charity Department

The SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital's Oncology Department

The SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital's Oncology Department is the national reference centre of for the treatment of developmental cancer and an international reference centre for determined types of tumours.