Diego and Lola, the philanthropists of Spanish researchers, AEF award.


Diego Megía and Lola Manterola, a cancer patient, are co-founders of CRIS Cancer Foundation and have been awarded a Philanthropic Initiative award in the seventh edition of the Awards of the Spanish Association of Foundations (AEF). This award recognises the work of the founders of CRIS Cancer Foundation, which was born almost 12 years ago out of the need to support research into childhood and adult cancer in public hospital laboratories and to bring patients closer to the bedside, who do not respond to conventional therapies or are in relapse, the most advanced and innovative treatments.

Since then, CRIS Cancer Foundation has invested almost £26 million, launched 418 clinical trials in CRIS Units and CRIS Projects, working to date with 198 researchers, representing 81 lines of research, with 739 scientific publications. 634 communications to National and International Medical Congresses and 64 doctoral theses linked to CRIS projects against cancer. All this wealth of human resources and resources has resulted in more than 40 innovative and new treatments developed by all these CRIS teams in the countries where they are established, which means more than 11 million potential annual beneficiaries of these advances.

“I am alive thanks to research, a clinical trial in Spain, and we want all cancer patients to have a second chance like the one I had. That is why we founded CRIS against cancer”, explains Lola, “In Public Health in Spain we have the best health professionals, our researchers are pioneers and our obligation is to give them support and resources so that they can carry out their work here, in Spain, and thus avoid brain drain”.

Lola adds “the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that when science is provided with resources, the effects on our lives are immediate. Without science there is no future; and without research there is no life. Because that is the key to CRIS Cancer Foundation: supporting cancer research effectively: detecting the best, analysing the needs, financing the projects and, with the endorsement of the results, creating multiplying synergies so that the seed of the research reaches the greatest possible impact and can bring the most innovative treatments to the greatest number of patients and save lives”.

“The budget distraction from cancer research funds, a disease that is the leading cause of mortality in Western society, causes advances and diagnoses to slow down. Likewise, although we are facing a difficult time globally, our efforts cannot be diminished, since the lives of millions of people with cancer depend on receiving adequate treatment for their disease”.

CRIS international alliances against cancer

CRIS Cancer Foundation has not hesitated to establish synergies with leading global foundations, has launched the fourth call for CRIS Research Programmes that are a European reference, has alliances with the main medical societies, trains the most promising researchers in centres of international excellence, finances important projects in the UK, Spain and France and has strategic research alliances with leading international foundations in England at The Institute of Cancer Research, in France at Gustave Roussy and in the United States at The Prostate Cancer Foundation and The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (which has 13 Nobel Prize winners).