Dr. Matilde Lleonart, head of the group for Biomedical Research in Stem Cell Cancer of Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), has received one of the grants from the Spanish Association against Cancer for coordinated stable groups. The researcher is involved in a collaborative project that aims to determine the causes of resistance to the treatment of head and neck tumours.

Specifically, the main objective of the project is to identify molecular pathways which inhibition reverse the acquisition of resistance to chemotherapeutic agents in patients with head and neck tumours, with special emphasis on tumors of the larynx and pharynx for being the most aggressive. Additionally, researchers hope to identify new clinically relevant therapeutic targets for the treatment of patients with these tumours.

The research is coordinated by Dr. Ángel Carracedo, executive director of the Galician Public Foundation for Genomic Medicine , and also features the participation of Dr. Amancio Carnero, principal investigator at the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville - CSIC. As the focus of the study is therapeutic and innovative, researchers say their work could lead to the discovery of new therapeutic avenues.

Cancers of the head and neck, of which vast majority are squamous nature, are tumours that occur in a percentage close to 8-10% of all cancers diagnosed each year in the world's population in general. Unlike other cancers, in which therapy has greatly evolved over the past 30 years, current therapies for head and neck cancers have barely changed and remain the same as 50 years ago. Therefore, there is a great need to deepen these tumors, both at the molecular level and pathological, in order to improve their treatment.

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