We provide support for research to find a personalised treatment against cancer

We back several leading scientific research projects against cancer.

Our aim is to cooperate on projects to improve treatment of the disease and offer patients better therapeutic options.

UITM - ”la Caixa” Molecular Cancer Therapy Research Unit. Vall d’Hebron Oncology Institute (VHIO)

The UITM - ”la Caixa” Molecular Cancer Therapy Research Unit at the VHIO, which opened in 2012, carries out clinical tests with drugs in the initial stages of development (phase I, phase II and phase III), and concentrates on new therapeutic targets for cancer treatment.

The UITM conducts molecular analysis of patients’ tumours in order to choose the right treatment, taking us a step closer to personalised medicine.


”la Caixa” International Program for Cancer Research and Education & International Meetings Program. MSKCC & VHIO

This programme was set up to help the Vall d’Hebron Oncology Institute (VHIO) and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to expand their joint dissemination activities through research scholarships and international research meetings, building up the complementary strengths of the VHIO and MSKCC in the fields of basic research into cancer and the pursuit of medication, diagnostics and clinical studies.


HepaCare Project – The Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarre

New therapeutic strategies for hepatic diseases and liver cancer.

Immunotherapy is emerging as an effective alternative for the treatment of chronic hepatic diseases and liver cancer. The development of immune modulation strategies and of therapeutic vaccines could change the course of these diseases.

Through the HepaCare project, which is led by doctors Matías Ávila and Juan José Lasarte of the Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarre, a multidisciplinary research study is being carried out to develop:

  • New methods for the treatment of cirrhosis, with the objective of recovering liver function, reducing the need for transplants and preventing the development of liver cancer.

  • Immunotherapy strategies, focused on therapeutic vaccination and adoptive cellular therapy for liver cancer.

  • New methods to attack cancerous cells, thereby inhibiting genes altered in tumours. 


Tissue regeneration as a therapeutic strategy. The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

This research project, led by Dr. Manuel Serrano, focuses on studying tissue regeneration in vivo and the elimination of senescent cells in chronic illnesses.

His research aims to stimulate future therapies based on regenerative medicine to combat cellular ageing that could be used with pulmonary diseases or cancer, among others. Specifically, the team centres its research on two specific illnesses to advance regenerative medicine: diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis.


Lung cancer research project. Catalan Oncology Institute (ICO)

This research project has helped to improve the treatment of tumours involving alteration of the EGFR gene and to understand why some become resistant to standard treatments.

This study is led by doctor Rafael Rosell, a European leader in the struggle against lung cancer and one of the pioneers of molecular studies of lung tumours to seek a personalised treatment.


“Epigenetic prediction of the response to drugs to select and optimise cancer therapy”, Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Programme (PEBC). Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL)

With the help of the ”la Caixa” foundation, doctor Manel Esteller, director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Programme (PEBC) at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), is carrying out a pioneering study of the epigenetic prediction of the response to drugs to optimise cancer therapy in patients who no longer respond to standard treatments.

This research sets out to define DNA methylation markers in colon, lung, pancreas and brain cancer cell lines, in order to predict their response to new treatments.

The results of the research will directly benefit a hundred patients taking part in the clinical project and will be the key to applying the right treatment to each patient in order to prolong and improve the quality of their life and reduce the impact of the toxicity of the treatment.


Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC)

The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) is the first European research centre focused exclusively on leukaemia and other malignant haematological illnesses and one of the few anywhere in the world.

The contribution of the ”la Caixa” Foundation to the Josep Carreras Foundation is used to foster the pursuit of projects and the purchase of laboratory equipment for the research groups.


Prostate cancer – National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) & Cris against cancer

Prostate cancer is the malignant tumour that is most frequent in men. This project, led by Dr David Olmos, aims to develop new treatments against prostate cancer, discover new therapeutic targets and to identify markers of the illnesses’ clinical evolution.

Accordingly, it intends to design and carry out clinical trials that test new drugs or combinations of drugs for different stages of the illness in order to provide a more personalised treatment to the affected patients.


Childhood vascular cancer – Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL)

Oncogenic vascular malformations are infrequent soft tissue tumours that mainly affect children and young people. Each year approximately 120 cases of vascular malformations requiring treatment are diagnosed.  

This project, led by Dr Mariona Graupera, endeavours to understand and identify the causes of such malformations, which will enable new specific therapies to be designed and to perform clinical trials in initial phases to test their efficiency.


Cellular cycle and cancer – Universitat de Barcelona

This project, led by Dr Rosa Aligué, aims to identify new mechanisms to regulate the cellular cycle to improve the diagnosis and design of new therapies in illnesses such as cancer in which the cellular cycle is altered.     

Through the study of the alterations in cellular functioning, it is intended to identify the mechanisms that trigger such alterations, the molecular mechanisms involved and the relationship between the genetic and epigenetic alterations.


“Immunotherapy based on the use of dendritic cells in advanced solid tumours in adolescents”, “Children Against Cancer” programme.  Navarra University Clinic

Led by doctor Ana Patiño García, director of the Clinical Genetics Unit at the Navarra University Clinic, this project is part of the “Children Against Cancer” programme. The aim is to improve survival rates and quality of life for children with advanced solid tumours and assess the safety of the treatment and the biological efficacy of the vaccine by means of in vitro studies.

The aim is to reduce mortality, predict the development of metastasis and develop efficient, non-toxic new therapies to stop paediatric oncology patients becoming adults with chronic diseases due to the treatment they have received.


“Interaction of DNA with Ru organometallic compounds and atomic quantum clusters.” University of Burgos and University of Santiago

The primary goal of this project is to find new anti-tumour drugs. With the aim of providing better therapeutic options for patients, new drugs are researched and developed, studying certain synthetic substances containing metals and assessing how they act together with biological molecules.


Liquid biopsies for stratification of prostate cancer patients. Analysis of subpopulations of circulating tumour cells (CTC) by mass cytometry (CyTOF). University of Granada

The aim of this project is the detection and genetic characterisation of the cells that escape from the primary tumour and cause metastasis, circulating tumour cells (CTC).

Detecting these CTC is especially important in early-stage prostate cancer patients, because as well as analysis of the specific features of the cells, it will allow conclusions to be drawn about what type of treatment to use in each case. 

The team responsible for this project, headed by Dr. José Antonio Lorente, is made up of a group of people with different professional profiles, including scientists, clinicians, pharmacists and chemists.


Epigenomic biomarkers with clinical and epidemiological uses. University of Granada

Scientists believe it will be possible to detect abnormalities in DNA sequences in blood samples before final diagnosis of the illness. The aim of this study is to help develop diagnostic methods to detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, even before anatomical abnormalities such as polyps or adenomas appear in the patient.

This project is led by the researchers Dr. Paul Lizardi, who has carried out research in molecular biology, genetics and cancer for 35 years, and Dr. José Luis Martín Ruiz, who has practised as a specialist in the pathology of the digestive system for 35 years.


Cancer and the elderly – FEFOC Foundation

Led by Dr Tània Estapé and by Dr Jordi Estapé, Senior without cancer (in Spanish only) is an educational programme to promote knowledge of cancer among the elderly, providing education and adequate information, and improving early diagnosis, treatment and acceptance of the illness.  

This study enables it to be assessed whether the enhanced information received on the cancer and its prevention contribute, on the one hand, to reduce the incidence of the disease and, on the other hand, to change the perception and attitude of the elderly with respect to such illness.