Pulseras Candela renews its support to Vall d'Hebron's pediatric ependymoma research

The association and VHIR have signed a collaboration agreement to fund with 150,000€ a project to find new therapeutic strategies for this childhood tumor of the central nervous system.

25/10/2022

Pulseras Candela and the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) have signed a new collaboration agreement to fund with 150,000€ over three years the project "New therapeutic approaches for the treatment of pediatric ependymoma". The partnership makes possible this study, led by the laboratory of Dr. Miquel Segura, principal investigator of the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR.

According to Dr. Miquel Segura, "the commitment of Pulseras Candela for the fourth consecutive year is essential to consolidate and advance in the research of one of the rare and highly aggressive brain tumors".

On its part, for the association Pulseras Candela, "it is a great pride to be able to re-sign an agreement like this, and that for 6 years part of this line of research will be supported thanks to our contribution, and with the hope that Dr. Miquel Segura and his team will be able to find treatments for this disease in the future".

Research in pediatric ependymoma in Vall d'Hebron

Pediatric ependymoma is a type of childhood tumor that affects the central nervous system of affected patients and is incurable in approximately 40% of cases. Its treatment is based on surgery accompanied by radiotherapy or chemotherapy, but is usually limited by its complicated location and the risk of damaging vital brain structures. The development of new therapies is key to improving quality of life and survival. In this sense, the project led by the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group at VHIR has the following objectives:

  1. To increase the number and characterization of cellular and animal models. In order to increase the portfolio of possible treatments, it is necessary to test them in models first. The group has already established a circuit for the generation of new pediatric brain tumors and has increased the capacity to acquire models from US and Canadian institutions.
  2. Test epigenetic drugs with high selectivity for the brain. One of the major problems in the treatment of brain tumors is the poor permeability of this organ for drugs. So far, the group has shown that epigenetic drugs have a high capacity to reach brain cells and delay tumor growth. They are currently continuing to investigate the combination with other drugs to improve treatments.
  3. Understanding how the tumor microenvironment helps ependymoma growth and progression. For a tumor cell to grow in a given environment, it needs the contribution of neighboring cells. Researchers have seen that there are a large number of genes that are activated only when ependymoma cells are in the environment where the tumor usually grows and have identified 2-3 that are highly regulated by the tumor microenvironment and have generated tools to inhibit their function.
  4. Develop personalized immunotherapy. To offer the best possible treatment, researchers are studying how different types of conventional treatments affect the expression of membrane proteins that can be targets for immunotherapy or CAR-T-based therapies. Liquid biopsy techniques will be developed to evaluate the expression of these antigens in cerebrospinal fluid samples.

Pulseras Candela

The Pulseras Candela association was born in 2013, when Candela, a girl with leukemia, began making bracelets with her friends and the children and adolescents who shared a floor in the hospital with her. Their families created the association to preserve their solidarity project and encourage research to improve the treatment and survival of patients, along with the collaboration of volunteers, companies and the whole society that has led this project to be one of the main promoters of childhood cancer research in our country.

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