Non-coding RNA in Liver Diseases

Non-coding RNA molecules are very numerous and have many regulatory functions, but have been studied very little. We have identified long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) necessary for the growth of hepatocarcinoma and we are evaluating if this allows us to develop strategies to treat this disease.

Hepatocarcinoma is the most abundant liver cancer and the third cause of cancer death in the world. This is because in the majority of patients, hepatocarcinoma is detected in late stages, in which the current treatments only manage to prolong survival a few months. Therefore, it is necessary to develop systems that allow, detect the existence of hepatocarcinoma in a blood sample, classify tumors according to their prognosis and develop personalized treatments that prevent the growth and metastasis of the tumor. All this is possible with the study of lncRNAs.

Team consists of molecular biologists in close contact with clinicians and bioinformatics. Together, we are studying the tumor transcriptome, with all the coding genes and lncRNAs it expresses, in order to:

- identify markers of hepatocarcinoma in serum

- apply artificial intelligence techniques that allow to stratify tumors and predict their most effective treatment

- study the function of the lncRNAs that serve as a therapeutic target to understand why the tumor becomes addicted to them

- develop small antisense molecules that prevent the functioning of the target lncRNAs and that, therefore, end with the growth of the tumor

In addition, using biotechnological techniques we want to design new molecules based on these lncRNAs that may be of interest in gene therapy applications. We have already developed viral vectors that inhibit the expression of target genes by expressing short RNA molecules, such as siRNAs, modified small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), or both. Currently we are developing similar strategies with the aim of increasing gene expression or regulating it.

Fecha de actualización: Noviembre 2018

"We have developed viral vectors that inhibit the expression of target genes by expressing short RNA molecules, and which are very effective in cells in cultures and animal models", Dra. Puri Fortes, Principal Investigator.


Cristina López
Avda. Pío XII, 55
31008 Pamplona

(+34) 948 194 700 Ext. 6021