Dr. Gabriela Guillén of Vall d'Hebron receives the award for best presentation at the LXI Congress of the SECP

"Generation of a bank of surgical orthotopic PDX (patient-derived xenografts) models within the framework of a personalized medicine program in pediatric cancer" was the awarded work, of the Childhood Cancer and Hematological Diseases Group of VHIR.


A study by the Childhood Cancer and Hematological Diseases Group of the VHIR has been awarded as the best presentation at the 2024 edition of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Surgery (SECP) congress. Specifically, the award-winning work was presented by Dr. Gabriela Guillén, head of the Oncology, Neonatal, and Hepatobiliopancreatic Surgery Unit, and titled "Generation of a bank of surgical orthotopic PDX (patient-derived xenografts) models within the framework of a personalized medicine program in pediatric cancer."

The work was developed within the Pediatric Cancer Personalized Medicine Program (COMIK) of Vall d'Hebron, which includes, on one hand, the molecular study of tumors through sequencing, and on the other hand, the generation of preclinical models for functional studies, known as PDX. In the period from 2016 to 2021, 46 PDX models were developed, generated from tumor biopsies or surgical resection specimens. Part of the tissue was subjected to molecular analysis to understand its entire genetic history and detect anomalies. Another small part of the tissue was surgically implanted in immunodeficient animal models, in the same organ where the patient's tumor had developed. Once the tumor grows, it is expanded in other animals to establish the model. Based on the alterations found in the sequencing, the possible application of drugs is studied, and tests can be carried out. Some of the models have been used in real-time personalized medicine (i.e., to identify treatments for specific patients), and others are being used to develop new therapeutic targets and treatments. 

These models are extremely valuable because they represent 14 different types of tumors, including some very rare ones. This makes it difficult to develop new treatments, as there are few reliable preclinical models.

This is an experimental work in which members of the Pediatric Surgery and Pathology Services of Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, the Childhood Cancer and Hematological Diseases Group of VHIR, and the Oncobell Group of IDIBELL have collaborated. This work has been the subject of Dr. Guillén's doctoral thesis, obtaining the qualification of Excellent "Cum Laude", and supervised by Dr. Alberto Villanueva from IDIBELL, a recognized international expert in the generation of PDX models.

In addition to this award, two of the ten scholarships awarded to residents went to MIRs from the service, Drs. Alejandra Castrillo and Blanca Oliver, for their work on the use of fluorescence-guided surgery in neonatal patients and on the quality of life in patients undergoing laparoscopic urinary diversions, respectively.
*Institutional Declaration on the use of experimental animals

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