National Projects:

CRIS Haematological Tumours Unit

  • They have participated in an international clinical trial for a type of immunotherapy (teclistamab) that has seen improvements in more than 70% of myeloma patients. These great results suggest that this therapy should be approved for clinical practice very soon.
  • They have identified a mechanism whereby tumour cells from various blood tumours become resistant to treatments. This mechanism makes them age and become very resistant to treatments. If we can rejuvenate these cells, they will once again become sensitive to treatments.

CRIS Breast Cancer Project

  • They have designed a therapy for triple-negative breast cancer based on antibodies (targeting a protein called CD98) linked to drugs.

CRIS Ovarian Cancer Project

  • They are currently working on how to stimulate Natural Killer cells to fight ovarian tumours. They have taken part in several clinical trials evaluating drugs to enhance Natural Killer cells and are participating in a large international phase III clinical trial called ARTRISTRY-7

CRIS Pancreatic Cancer Project

  • Based on findings where 50% of mice were cured by removing 2 proteins (EGFR and RAF1), they have determined that the best strategy for turning this into therapies for humans is not to deactivate these proteins, but to eliminate them.
  • They have identified other mechanisms involved in pancreatic cancer that they could target to fight this type of tumour and are currently discussing how to treat them with drugs.

CRIS Targeted Therapies in Metastatic Colon Cancer Project (Pau T-Shirt Project)

  • They have presented their results on the analysis of DNA (and other types of genetic material) at the world’s leading congresses (ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer and the American Society for Clinical Oncology Congress)
  • One of the team’s researchers has received the prestigious 2021 Medical Research Award from Mutual Médica

CRIS Prostate Cancer Project

  • Their advances are having a major impact on the management of advanced prostate cancer and patients at risk of family cancer.  
  • They have performed DNA sequencing on 700 prostate cancer patients to detect mutations, adapt treatments, and even make recommendations to family members.
  • They have set up a Genetic Counselling Unit, which has advised 167 patients about the risks of their relatives and children developing tumours.

CRIS Immuno-Oncology Unit

  • The Solid Tumours Group is developing a system applicable to clinical practice, which combines data from the immune system and different types of genetic material, to predict which lung cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy. They are already achieving very promising results.
  • Over the past year, six Phase II and three Phase III clinical trials have been launched, in which patients are already participating and being treated using the latest immunotherapy strategies.
  • An Immuno-Engineering-based therapy (called STAb-19) has been developed, which will be tested in clinical trials in 2022 and offers great potential to treat patients with leukaemia or lymphoma.

CRIS Unit for New Experimental Therapies

  • A total of 5 Phase I clinical trials have been launched and six more are expected to begin soon and have already been approved.
  • These trials incorporate highly advanced immunotherapy treatments, such as modified IL-2 treatments (which promote the multiplication of tumour-fighting cells) and therapies against molecules that block immune system cells (TIGIT, LAG-3, and others)

CRIS MLL Leukaemia Project

  • They have identified patterns of proteins called histone deacetylases (or HDACs, responsible for deciding when and how DNA is read) and other molecules called micro RNAs, which can predict which patients will have a poorer prognosis, something with tremendous clinical value.
  • They are currently developing a combination of tools that allow for very personalised follow-ups with children who are admitted with leukaemia and enable clinicians to react early to changes in their disease.

CRIS Medulloblastoma Project

  • In 2022, they launched a clinical trial for children with medulloblastoma using cells that release oncolytic viruses. These viruses infect and destroy tumour cells, but they also send a signal to the immune system to  eliminate the tumour.

CRIS Ewing Sarcoma Project

  • They are using very modern techniques to identify movements, absences, or multiplications, and even movements of genetic material. Some of these alterations, which appear to be related to poorer prognosis, could also give us clues to the prognosis of each patient and how to treat them.
  • They are trying to correlate what researchers are seeing in genetic studies with what we can see under the microscope, so that simple methods can be incorporated into clinical practice to make it easier to predict how each patient will evolve. 

CRIS Unit for Advanced Childhood Cancer Therapies

  • Since opening, this Unit has treated more than 578 children with very varied pathologies.
  • Thanks to the wonderful work being done in this Unit, La Paz was recently named one of 4 hospitals in Madrid accredited to administer CAR-T to children on a regular basis (not just in clinical trials).
  • After 5 years of hard work and validation, the Spanish Drugs Agency has finally given approval so that this unit can begin to produce two different types of advanced therapy: State-of-the-art CAR-T therapy and boosted Natural Killer cells to eliminate tumours more effectively. These cells will soon be used in several clinical trials.

CRIS Programmes:

CRIS Colon Cancer Project (Clara Montagut)

  • There are 3 clinical trials underway aimed at patients with colon cancer who are resistant to conventional treatments. One of them has recently been launched, the other two are about to be completed. The first one to be launched is the CITRIC clinical trial. 

CRIS Colon Cancer Project (Raquel Pérez)

  • They are developing a clinical trial in which they are creating a system to predict using diagnostic imaging tools how patients receiving immunotherapy will evolve. They are already achieving some very powerful preliminary results.

CRIS Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Project (Alejo Fraticelli)

  • They are developing the equivalent of a cell time machine that will let them know how myeloid leukaemia cells evolve, how they become so aggressive, why they resist therapies, and how to treat them.

CRIS Multiple Myeloma Project (Bruno Paiva)

  • They are conducting a huge study that will analyse multiple samples from 5000 patients in stages prior to diseases such as myeloma (monoclonal gammopathies). Long before the study is completed, this project is already benefiting participating patients by helping inform them of their risk of getting worse.

CRIS Lung Cancer Radio-Immunotherapy Project (Maria Esperanza Rodriguez)

  • They have just received approval to develop a clinical trial combining radiation therapy with immunotherapy for patients with lung cancer that is resistant to other conventional immunotherapies.

CRIS Prostate Cancer Evolution Project (Joaquin Mateo)

  • They are studying the DNA marks and scars of prostate cancer patients who have received a different number of treatment rounds. This could offer clues as to whether patients in each group are susceptible or not to receiving certain treatments and might be more accurate in predicting whether each treatment will work.

CRIS Prostate Cancer Metastasis Project (Isabel Mendizabal)

  • They have already analysed 100 samples from prostate cancer patients taken at different stages in each patient, very valuable samples that are difficult to obtain. The data they have gained through the use of artificial intelligence may be of great importance in selecting treatments for these patients in the future.

CRIS Breast Cancer Metastasis Project (Maria Casanova)

  • They have identified in laboratory models a molecule that may be related to this process in certain cells of the immune system that facilitate lung cancer metastasis and are proving whether it might also be involved in liver and brain metastases. They are also examining what might be the best way to focus targeted treatments on this molecule

International projects:

CRIS Head and Neck Cancer Project and Centre for Translational Immunotherapy (Kevin Harrington)

  • Over the last year, the structure of the Centre has been established, and they have begun to develop large clinical studies of immunotherapy based on patient samples, which can provide the most information when it comes to research in the development of treatments.
  • In relation to head and neck cancer, they have designed a working method that allows them to study the different types of T lymphocytes during the treatment of patients. This could help them to know in advance whether that patient will respond to conventional therapy or whether we need to look for alternatives.

CRIS CAR-T Cell Immunotherapy in Thoracic Tumours Project  (Astero Klampatsa)

  • They have identified a molecule released by tumours that may render immunotherapy treatments ineffective, even CAR-T. They are now developing an advanced CAR-T that blocks that molecule whilst fighting the tumour and could be much more effective.

CRIS Multiple Myeloma Treatment Resistance Project (Charlotte Pawlyn)

  • They have identified cell mechanisms that are not activated in cells that are resistant to treatments for multiple myeloma and are now working on finding alternative treatments

CRIS Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Project (Jacques Grill)

  • After analysing samples from 13 children with diffuse pontine glioma, they have identified a factor that may facilitate more metastatic tumour cells, paving the way for future treatments.

CRIS Children’s Brain Cancer Project (Chris Jones)

  • In a study of Diffuse Midline Glioma, a devastating childhood tumour, they have identified a damaged mechanism that allows tumour cells to advance at all costs. Not only that, but they have also found a way to combat this mechanism and are working quickly to take these findings to clinical trials.