Scientific Report 2011

VHIO's purely translational research model/

Cancer treatment and care can and will only advance through the equal involvement and cross-talk between all oncology professionals as multidisciplinary cancer teams within an environment that provides the appropriate infrastructure, expertise, and interconnectivity.

From the very outset VHIO – under the scientific direction of José Baselga and the expert leadership of Josep Tabernero - has adopted a purely translational research model. VHIO is proof of the bench-bedside-bench principle, whereby laboratory discoveries are directly applied to patients and from the clinical side, tumor samples are analyzed in the laboratory.

Our translational approach facilitates the detailed study of each patient and each tumor. Aided by direct access to patients thanks to its location set within the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, our translational research model and multidisciplinary setting, VHIO has become one of the few comprehensive cancer centers to translate research findings for the benefit of patients in record time.

Research at VHIO focuses on understanding all relevant aspects of cancer biology from cellular and molecular biology and genetics through to therapeutics. Our optimal patient care is made possible by our innovative programs in preclinical, translational, and clinical research, our cutting edge core technologies, whereby researchers collaborate closely with Vall d'Hebron University Hospital physician-scientists, a partnership that helps accelerate the application of key research findings to the benefit of our patients.

It is only through the continued and generous support received from our patrons, private institutions, companies, individuals, funding entities and agencies (please select Funding, Consortia and Accreditation for further details) that our cancer teams continue to improve survival and quality of life for our patients today, and in so doing turn research into more effective, personalized treatments and better clinical practice for the future.

VHIO: providing the optimal organizational structure allowing researchers contact with cancer patients using the most advanced technologies and interaction between specialties:

The Vall d'Hebron University Hospital: an ideal base and environment for VHIO's multidisciplinary cancer teams/

VHIO is located in the privileged environment of one of the largest University Hospitals in the country, the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital.

There has never been a more promising time in the global battle against the multifaceted, complex disease that is cancer. We are at a turning point. As researchers we benefit enormously from the explosion of novel genomic data and the rapid advancement in new diagnostic and therapeutic options.

Cancer treatment and care can and will only advance through the equal involvement and cross-talk between all oncology professionals form different specialties as dynamic, multidisciplinary cancer teams within a setting that provides the appropriate infrastructure, expertise, and interconnectivity.

The Vall d'Hebron University Hospital offers the ideal environment and base through which to foster and promote such essential collaboration:

  • VHIO coexists with the day to day activity of the hospital with all the available clinical care state-of-the-art technology for the treatment and care of cancer patients.
  • The campus naturally spurs multidisciplinary cooperation, thus permitting a more comprehensive approach to combating cancer. It is thanks to this environment that VHIO has been able to develop its multidisciplinary cancer teams to ensure patients are cared for by as many different specialties as required for their particular type of disease including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, psychiatrists, and nurses.
  • The Vall d'Hebron University Hospital is a teaching hospital associated with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

In addition to the inspiring dedication, expertise and dedication of VHIO's faculty, the combination of these aforementioned factors have also been of major importance in uniting the talent required to allow our teams of researchers to produce such excellent cancer science from bench-bedside-bench.

Clinical Trials at VHIO/

Driving drug development and targeted therapies against cancer, VHIO has rapidly become a leading reference in drug discovery from concept to clinic.

Research Unit for Molecular Therapy of Cancer
(UITM) - "la Caixa"

Directed by Josep Tabernero, under the clinical coordination of Jordi Rodón, the Research Unit for Molecular Therapy of Cancer (UITM) - "la Caixa" was inaugurated as a new facility at VHIO in June 2010, thanks to the support received from the Welfare Projects Division of "la Caixa" Foundation in order to develop new drugs based on the molecular profile of each tumor and optimize treatment regimes using combinations of new drugs with existing ones.

This Unit, a pioneering project at national level, also benefits from the same privileged environment enjoyed by VHIO; located in the patient care environment of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and set within the research context. This excellent bridging and tight connectivity between health care and research enables us to establish new treatment models for patients with highly selective drugs, expanding the knowledge of tumor diseases and how to treat them in an individualized way - getting the right drug to the right patient at the right time.

In just one year and a half since it was inaugurated, among many other successes, through the clinical research carried out by the Early Clinical Drug Development Group, the Unit has firmly established itself as a leading reference with the most expertise in various areas of drug development including P13K/akt/mTOR inhibitors, FGFR inhibitors or drugs targeting developmental pathways such as TGF beta, SHH, WNT, and NOTCH.

To view the Unit's strategic goals and a summary of highlights in 2011 please see here.

Clinical Trials Office

Established in 1997, the Clinical Trials Office at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital coordinates studies from Phase I to Phase III and is organized in three separate teams: Phase I, Breast Cancer, and Phase II - III. Thanks to the dedication and drive of more than 30 professionals including study coordinators, data managers and adminstrative staff, this Office reports exciting growth in both the number of patients enrolled in trials as well as trials conducted each year. 2011 is no exception - totaling 161 Phase I-II-III trials with 675 patients recruited.

To consult the full list of highlights and a summary of activity in 2011 click here.

Cancer research at VHIO: leading scientific discovery to progress against cancer/

Commandeering research in the fight against cancer, our preclinical, translational and clinical researchers as corresponding/senior authors or co-authors, published 125 scientific articles with a Median Impact Factor of 8, 35. These figures reflect both the increasing quality of scientific productivity at VHIO as well as the importance of its research and contribution to the oncology field.

To view papers published across VHIO's programs and research groups, select the main tab 'Publications, Projects & Awards' and browse Programs and their Groups.

The CELLEX Building: to strengthen VHIO's multidisciplinary cross-talk and connectivity/

Throughout 2011 we have been finalizing the plans and facilities for our new building and are delighted to report that construction will commence in early 2012 as envisaged. The CELLEX building will not only facilitate the necessary and future expansion of VHIO's preclinical, translational

and clinical research programs, but will also bring all our teams even closer together - accelerating yet further our translational research for tomorrow's targeted therapy: the barometer of VHIO success.

VHIO's Scientific Advisory Board: a shared VHIO vision/

Established in the Fall of 2011, VHIO's Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of the following 10 renowned experts within the oncology field, will undoubtedly help VHIO to further deliver on its mission of developing and advancing translational research of excellence:

Carlos L. Arteaga, MD (Chair)
Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer
Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology
Associate Director of Clinical Research, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, USA

René Bernards, PhD
Head of Molecular Carcinogenesis, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Julio E. Celis, PhD
Scientific Director, Institute of Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark

Andrés Cervantes, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Head of Section of the Hematology and Medical Oncology Department, University Hospital of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Fortunato Ciardiello, MD, PhD
Full Professor of Medical Oncology, Head of Experimental Therapeutics, the Division of Medical Oncology, Seconda Universitá di Napoli, Naples, Italy.

Stanley B. Kaye, MD, FRCP, FRCR
Head of the Drug Development Unit and Head of the Section of Medicine, The Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK

Carlos López Otín, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Oviedo, Spain

Richard Marais, PhD
Director, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester, UK

Jorge Reis-Filho, MD, PhD
Professor, Team Leader, Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Center, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK

Jesús San Miguel Izquierdo, MD
Scientific Director, Salamanca Institute of Biomedical Research, Salamanca, Spain

Launched: VHIO Meet the Editors series of prestigious talks/

Launched this year with Nature journal's Senior Editor, cancer research, Barbara Marte on Inside Nature in October 2011, our annual series of VHIO Meet the Editors, provide oncology professionals of research institutes in Barcelona with unique opportunity to learn more about scientific publishing and cancer research and put questions to the editors directly during the Q & A with the audience.

Following each talk, the respective Editor spends the afternoon in closed sessions with VHIO PIs to discuss their research and present manuscripts 'in the pipeline'- an excellent opportunity to establish a personal relationship with the Editor as well as promote their research.

VHIO Meet the Editors Calendar 2012

Speaker: Paula Kiberstis, Senior Editor, cancer research, Science
Talk: Demystifying Science
Date: 23 January 2012

Speaker: Victoria Aranda, Senior Editor, Nature Medicine
Talk: An In-Depth Look at Scientific Publishing, Criteria for Cancer Research Publications & Future Trends in Oncology
Date: 17 September 2012

Speaker: Bette Phimister, Deputy Editor, New England Journal of Medicine
Talk: Publishing Advances in Cancer Research
Date: 14 May 2012

Contact: +34 93 489 30 21 Email: info@vhio.net    |    © Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO)    |    Photography: Katherin Wermke