The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Madrid inaugurates one of the largest Phase I Clinical Trials units in Europe


The foundation works to eradicate cancer worldwide through clinical research, teaching and information to the population

This Wednesday, November 3, MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid has inaugurated its Phase I Clinical Trials Unit, one of the largest units in Spain and Europe and which expects to serve, in a total of 725 square meters, more than 100 patients cancer patients per year for whom conventional treatments have not given results. The foundation also works in constant communication with the MD Cancer Center in Houston, with whom it shares its vision and mission.

“Research represents the most effective weapon to defeat cancer,” says Juan José Hernández, vice president of the MD Anderson Spain Foundation. “For this reason, our unit is one more example of our commitment to science in line with our priority objective of defeating the disease,” he adds.

At MD Anderson 984 molecular panels have been tested in the last 4 years. These figures, explains Enrique Grande, head of the Hospital’s Medical Oncology Service and head of Clinical Research at the MD Anderson Spain Foundation, are not found in a public hospital. “Phase 1 is essential to continue advancing in oncology, we are modest in size but molecularly tested like a large hospital,” he exhibits.

In addition, phase 1 studies in oncology “are specific trials that should not be carried out anywhere, rather strict physical and personnel conditions are needed.” With this maxim, the foundation and hospital intends to offer any patient an additional possibility and that the entire population have the opportunity to go to the center: “Let us try to flee from the private and the public. We are going to try to ensure that the cost of all the research does not fall on the patient, but on the system itself ”, says Enrique Grande.

The genomic era

It’s been 20 years since the sequencing of the first version of the genome. Progress requires genomic medicine and the involvement of other disciplines that until now had not been considered, such as mathematics or artificial intelligence. “We cannot reduce the analysis of a tumor to a specific mutation as we had been doing 5 years ago,” says Gema Moreno, head of the Translational Research Laboratory of the MD Anderson Spain Foundation.

According to Dr. Moreno, if you want to advance in the treatment of this disease, everyone must do it together: oncologists, surgeons, geneticists, bioinformatics, pathologists and molecular biologists with the aim of selecting the best treatment.

The head of the laboratory explains that, of the hundreds analyzed tumors and despite having treatment, 31% did not obtain any change because there were no compatible tests in Spain. “This is where we must put more effort. We have to work on increasing the ratio of patients who benefit from their genetic analysis ”, she concludes.

Vision and ambition: DIPCAN study

The foundation has developed the DIPCAN project in which 2,000 patients with metastatic cancer will be treated for free to carry out a systematized medical history, an MRI from the brain to the extremities and obtain information from the radiomic point of view of what it is. the metastatic tumor of each of them.

The study uses artificial intelligence to analyze the clinical part, the radiomic part, the digital pathology part and the genomic part. “This information about the tumor is something that is not done in healthcare practice in our country,” says Enrique Grande. In addition, it has had the presence of Eurofins Megalab, five PIMES and funding from the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence and support from European funds of 7 and a half million euros.

The project will start up in the first quarter of 2022. With this, “we want to change the vision of doing oncology in our country because we will be able to predict what will happen to the patient in the future,” they conclude the doctors.

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