New Therapeutic Targets

Thanks to advances in molecular and cell biology, and to state-of-the-art genomic techniques, the past 10 years have seen the discovery of new mutations and genetic alterations that are at the source of a certain proportion of lung-cancer cases. This has made it possible to develop more specific drugs that are aimed at the "molecular Achilles' heel" of those tumors. However, the key molecular alterations in approximately 50% of lung cancers are still unknown, which means that a huge number of patients are still not benefiting from "personalized oncology." The goal of our group is to use high-performance genomic technologies to identify and validate new target molecules in tumors with few therapeutic options (tumors in nonsmokers, pan-negative tumors, and small-cell carcinoma) in order to improve survival and quality of life in these patients.

In our work, we use state-of-the-art genomic technology and samples from several independent cohorts of patients. We also carry out functional studies in cell and animal models to validate the potential targets identified. If we find sensitivity to the inhibition of these targets, we search for new drugs aimed at these molecular pathways.

The following are some of the areas in which our team is currently working:

  • Characterization of new molecular profiles using genome data from the patients (copy-number variations and LOH) and data relating to splicing alterations. Identification of new therapeutic targets based on molecular profiles.

  • Development of new therapeutic strategies aimed at specific mutations, which can improve survival in patients with lung cancer.

  • Contribution of cancer stem cells (CSCs) to tumor onset, ability to recruit bone-marrow derived cells, induction of angiogenesis, and resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We are performing large-scale analyses (gene-expression and microRNA profiles) to try to understand the transcriptomic program that guides the acquisition of malignant properties in CSCs and to identify therapeutic targets specific to these cells.

  • Characterization of the mechanisms of activation and regulation of the complement system with regard to the tumor cell. Identification and validation of therapeutic targets based on blockade of the complement system and its synergy by means of checkpoint inhibitors used in immunotherapy.

Dr. Luis Montuenga.

More information:


Marisol Ripa
Avda. Pío XII, 55
31008 Pamplona

(+34) 948 194 700 Ext. 1010