The BBVA Foundation announced an agreement to underwrite a joint effort between Massachusetts General Hospital and Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital to search for personalized cancer therapies through biomarker research.
BBVA’s Foundation Tumor Biomarkers Research Program will provide 2.5 million euros over the next five years to fund the collaborative efforts of MGH and VHIO. MGH has also committed to match up to 1.25 million euros of the BBVA Foundation contribution. Funding for the research may be increased according to economic circumstances and as need arises.
“We are grateful that the BBVA Foundation is not only maintaining but boosting its support for this program, along with its broader commitment to research in general, and cancer research in particular, at a time of economic difficulties.” – Josep Baselga chief of hematology/oncology at MGH
“Spain cannot afford to slip behind in an area where it has already attained a position of some prominence, and where research results can drive tangible improvements in the diagnostic and therapeutic options available to patients.” – Francisco Gonzalez Foundation President
Gonzalez, Baselga and Andres de Kelety, managing director at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology signed the agreement creating the program Monday in Barcelona. Also attending the event was the BBVA Foundation Director Rafael Pardo.
Biomarkers are biological characteristics of malignant cells that are measurable in tumor tissue and, at times, in blood. Biomarkers can measure alterations of the genome, of the proteins encoded by the genome and at times enzymes or metabolites. The information they give can be prognostic – how the disease is likely to evolve – or predictive – how it may respond to a given treatment.
Studies in this case will initially center on colorectal, breast and lung cancer, with likely expansion into melanomas, lymphomas, and prostate cancer.