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The Spanish Cancer Association provides a grant to a researcher from the CIMA of the University of Navarra

Natalia Ramírez is studying toxicity and response to drugs in colorectal cancer

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
03/07/06 16:09 Mª Pilar Huarte

The Spanish Cancer Association has selected a researcher from the Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra to be the recipient of a grant for research against cancer. Natalia Ramírez Huerto is working with a project on colorectal cancer, in order to discover markers that are predictive of toxicity, as well as the response to drugs which enable patients to receive personalized treatment, as an alternative to current chemotherapy techniques.

"Colorectal cancer ranks third among the most frequent tumors worldwide, and is third among the leading causes of deaths due to cancer. With the new era in pharmacogenomics, it has become possible to study the influence of genes on the response to a given drug or drugs. Genetic influences can change the prognosis dramatically, and also affect the degree of toxicity which a drug will have in a particular person," the researcher explained.

In the research project, entitled "Identification of genetic expression and miRNA profiles associated with chemoresistance and prognoses in colorectal cancer," several researchers from the Pharmacogenomic Laboratory of the area of Oncology of the CIMA. According to Dr. Ramírez Huerto, "the study of the global gene expression profile (mRNA) and, according to our hypothesis, the differential expression of new molecules with important regulatory functions (microRNA) may help us to identify prognostic factors in the response to therapy, as well as new therapeutic targets."

66,000 euros

Natalia Ramírez Huerto, licentiate in Biology and Biochemistry, and doctor in Biology from the University of Navarra, emphasized that this grant implies "the recognition of all the years of formation, and a responsibility towards those persons who have had confidence in our project."

The Spanish Cancer Association (AECC) has provided 10 grants during the current year to researchers in oncology, with the purpose of promoting cancer research and aiding Spanish scientists to gain experience and formation in research. The amount of the grant is 66,000 euros, and will be disbursed over the next two years.