Click the edit button to change this HTML
Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Cancer
Director: Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Objectives: according to the most recent data published by leading authorities, a high percentage of cancer cases may be preventable. Diet and life style are key factors in cancer prevention, but also exert essential function as coadjutants for cancer patients during and after therapy. Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer in which nutritional strategies might play a key role. Thus, it is necessary to develop personalized treatments based in molecular and metabolic alterations, combining complementary precision medicine and nutrition. We understand Precision Nutrition for cancer as highly efficiency products and strategies personalized for specific physiological conditions and population groups. This new way of understand Nutritional Sciences addresses different areas of knowledge including the precise (molecular) mechanism of action of bioactive compounds present in foods, the genetic profile and its impact in the personal susceptibility to develop cancer and respond to specific treatments, as well as the development of specific strategies for current personal physiological conditions.
Molecular Oncology Group
Group leader: Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Objectives: the group is currently focused on three research topics:
- Lipid metabolism disorders in cancer: identification of new biomarkers and therapeutic
targets in diet-related tumors. In this subject, the work of our group mainly focuses on the analysis of lipid metabolism alterations in cancer. Most specifically, we aim at studying the special energetic and structural requirements of tumor cells as well as identifying novel biomarkers of progression and response to therapy, which may represent new therapeutic targets. To this end, in close collaboration with the divisions of Medical Oncology from several
hospitals, we analyze clinical samples from cancer patients using state-of-the-art genomic
Gene expression analysis, identification of gene variants and epigenetic regulation by microRNAs of lipid metabolism pathways are then used to study their association with the clinical outcome of the disease. Furthermore, we perform functional studies both using conventional and three-dimensional cell culture such as organoids, and animal models to investigate the role of identified genes and microRNAs. We are especially interested in identifying metabolic profiles associated to the disease progression and analyzing their role from in-vitro cell systems to cancer patients. These analyses are mainly focused on the identification of metabolic pathways and distinctive oncometabolites that may constitute novel markers and targets for the development of future cancer therapies, as well as the genetic basis of the relationship between obesity, associated metabolic disorders and cancer.
- Activity and mechanism of action of bioactive compounds as potential effective dietary
supplements in cancer prevention and treatment. We evaluate the activity and molecular mechanism of action of bioactive compounds that may have a therapeutic use in cancer, either alone or in combination with existing chemotherapy. The aim is to establish the scientific basis for the development of nutritional supplements that may exert a beneficial effect on the disease. In close collaboration with the Bioactive Food Ingredients Group from the Research Institute of Food Science (CIAL, CSIC-UAM), we design and characterize different formulations of bioactive compounds. We combine genomics and functional studies in cell lines and intestinal organoids to determine the effect and target populations for personalized therapeutic use of these formulations.
These products are further evaluated in animal models and finally, in clinical trials in healthy volunteers or cancer patients. Recently, we have evaluated the antitumor effect of a supercritical extract of rosemary approved as safe for human use by EFSA. Such extract inhibits proliferation, induces cell death, and potentiates the effect of chemotherapy, both in sensitive and resistant colon cancer cells. Its formulation for human consumption shows an immunomodulatory effect in healthy volunteers and it is currently being used in a phase-I clinical trial in cancer patients.
Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Deputy Director, Director of the Precision Nutrition Program and Group leader of the Molecular Oncology Group.
Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina has developed her scientific career in the field of lipid metabolism, molecular oncology, nutrition and cancer. She has worked as an associated researcher in the Traslational Oncology Unit CSIC-UAM-La Paz Hospital (Madrid),
and has performed long postdoctoral stays at Cancer Research UK Centre for Therapeutics (London) and the Molecular Pathology Division of the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New
She has published more than 60 scientific articles in her research field, is co-inventor of 6 patents in different phases of exploitation by a biotechnology company and has supervised 6 PhD Thesis. Several of her patents promoted the creation of a
spin-off company from CSIC focused on the development of new tumour markers and therapies in Cancer in which she was former Director of Research, Development and Innovation for more than 3 years. She joined IMDEA Food Institute in 2010, where she leads the Programe of Precision Nutrition and Cancer. From 2011 she has been the Coordinator of Research, Development and Transfer, and in 2014 was promoted to Deputy Director of the Institute. In 2002 she was awarded with the prize Young Researchers MSD, in 2003 the extraordinary doctorate recognition as the best Thesis of her promotion in Molecular Biology, and in 2016 the 8th March distinction from the Community of Madrid as an outstanding woman in Science.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 102
Dr. Ruth Sánchez Martínez
Dr. Ruth Sánchez Martínez, obtained her BSc at the Oviedo University (2001). Her PhD training (2002-2007) was focused on the molecular mechanisms of action of nuclear receptors of thyroid hormone, vitamin D and retinoids under the supervision of Prof. Ana Aranda at the IIB Madrid (CSIC). In 2008 she joined, as a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Marcos Malumbres group at the CNIO to study the role of new proteins involved in mitotic exit regulation of importance in cancer therapy using genetically modified mice. She also studied microRNA regulation of several important cell cycle regulators. In the last years she has published several articles in prestigious international journals and she took part in both national and international research grants and consortiums. In 2012 she joined IMDEA to study new biomar-kers and bioactive compounds in human cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 301
Dr. Marta Gómez de Cedrón
Dr. Marta Gómez de Cedrón, obtained her Bachelor’s degree in
Biological Sciences (BSc) at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU). Her PhD training was performed at the National Centre of Biotechonology (CNB-UAM-CSIC) under the supervision of Dr. Juan Antonio García Álvarez “Enzymatic characterization of cylindrical inclusion protein (CI) of Plum Pox
Virus”. In 2005 she moved as a postdoctoral researcher (Fullbright Grant) to the Institute for Biological Sciences (IBS-NRC) in Canada at Danica Stanimirovic’s lab. Her research aimed to elucidate the role of mutants of Grb7 mutants in the stimulation of angiogenesis in glioblastomas. In 2006 she joined Dr. Marcos Malumbres’ group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). During this period, she worked in mouse models for depletion (cKO) and overexpression (iKI) of microRNA-203 and its role in skin cancer and leukaemias. In
2013 she joined Ana Ramírez de Molina’s lab at IMDEA Food Institute (Molecular Oncology Group). Her interests are the study of (1) Cell Metabolism alterations (specifically lipid metabolism) in Chronic Diseases related to Nutrition, and (2) the characterization of the Biological Activities of Bioactive Compounds and Plant derived Extracts to be used as supplements in the prevention/treatment in human cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 210
Dr. Cristina Aguirre Portolés
Dr. Cristina Aguirre Portolés, BS in Biology at Autónoma University in Madrid, started her scientific career at the Spanish National Cancer Institute in 2006. Her studies were mainly focused in the role of the mitotic protein TPX2 both in mouse development and tumorogenisis in adults. Part of this research was performed at the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Hyman. After obtaining her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics she joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in 2012. She focused her work in the implication of chromosomal instability in the initiation, progression and regression of non-small-cell lung cancer
(NSCLC). She joined IMDEA in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher focusing her studies in the association between metabolic syndrome, obesity and cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 01, ext. 212
Dr. Lara P. Fernández Álvarez
Lara P. Fernández Álvarez, obtained her PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Spain, in 2009. Her thesis focused on the characterization of genetic susceptibility to malignant melanoma. Since 2010, she has conducted postdoctoral research at the Molecular and Cell Biology of the Thyroid group in the Biomedical Research Institute (IIBm-CSICUAM), in Madrid. In December 2014 she joined IMDEA Molecular Oncology Group. She has a solid professional experience in the biology of cancer, molecular endocrinology, transcription factors and thyroid signalling pathways, as well as human genetics, cancer susceptibility and oncogenes. Additionally, she has published several research articles in the field of thyroid, melanoma, and breast cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 212
Dr. Juan Moreno Rubio
Currently Juan Moreno Rubio combines his work as a collaborator in the group of Molecular Oncology of IMDEA Food with the coordination of the Precision Oncology Laboratory (POL) of the Infanta Sofia University Hospital. Previously, he
coordinated the Laboratory of Translational Oncology of La Paz Hospital (IdiPAZ, Group 32) and performed his doctoral thesis (Excellent Cum Laude) in the Osteoarticular Pathology Laboratory (IISFJD). As a result of this activity has participated in 26 publications in international scientific journals, has taken part in 11 research projects, 7 of these projects financed in competitive public calls. He has been involved in the invention of 2 patents, has directed 2 doctoral theses and he has given numerous communications to international conferences.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Jorge Martínez Romero
Jorge Martínez Romero is currently working on his Doctoral Thesis at the IMDEA Food Institute’s Molecular Oncology Group, after completing the Diploma in Human Nutrition, the Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and a Masters in Agricultural Chemistry and Novel Foods from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2014). He holds a Bachelor of Economics Science ICADE E-2 degree from Pontificia University of Comillas (1989), and has led several companies related to the manufacture and assembly of machinery for the food industry. He currently combines his work in the field of research with his business administration.
Silvia Cruz Gil
Silvia Cruz Gil obtained her Biochemistry Degree at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2013. During the last two years of her degree she collaborated with the Biochemistry II Department at Pharmacy School in Universidad Complutense de Madrid studying the molecular biology of hepatocellular carcinoma. Later, she continued her training by obtaining a Master in Molecular Biosciences at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2014. Meanwhile, Silvia joined ALGENEX (Alternative Gene Expression S.L.) in association with I.N.I.A. (National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology) for an internship. During this period she worked in the development of vectored vaccines. In October 2014, she started
studies conducive to her PhD Degree at IMDEA Food Institute in the Molecular Oncology Group. Her research primarily focuses on the role of the lipid metabolism in tumor progression. In April 2016 she obtained a Boehringer Ingelheim Travel Grant to perform a short research stage in the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus (Dresden, Germany) to learn organoids technique under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Stange.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Dr. Elena María Arranz Gutiérrez
University of Guelph(Canada)
Food Science Department
Jesús del Barrio Morán
Marta Blanco López
Diego Portillo Liso
Irene Marina Beltrán de Heredia Anguita
Clinical Oncology Group
Group leader: Dr. Enrique Casado Sánz and Dr. Jaime Feliú Batle
Objectives: Cancer is a complex disease, whose characteristics, prognosis and response to different treatments depends on several factors, including the patient’s genome, environmental causes such as exposure to contaminants, and microenvironmental causes such as nutritional status or immunological condition of the patient; This complexity makes it imperative that cancer research must be done in a multidisciplinary way and with the joint efforts of many researchers.
Under the premise that diet and lifestyle are key factors in both cancer prevention and treatment, and in close collaboration with the other groups that are part of the Precision Nutrition and Cancer Program, the Clinical Oncology Group focuses its work on research in patient groups that voluntarily accept to participate in the study of new methods of treating cancer. In general, it is accepted that in the last decades the continuous improvement of the results in the treatment of cancer is due to the realization of clinical trials with new drugs. Similarly, our line of research focused in cancer-oriented nutrigenomics aims to deepen in the knowledge of this pathology by studying highly efficiency products and personalized strategies focused on the implementation of a Precision Nutrition that complements individualized cancer treatments. To do this, we design and carry out clinical trials and nutritional studies that seek to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Dr. Enrique Casado Sánz
Director of the Medical Oncology Department, Infanta Sofía University Hospital and Oncology Coordinating Professor of Oncology, European University of Madrid Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Group leader of the Clinical Oncology Group.
Enrique Casado finished his undergraduate studies in Medicine
and Surgery (1992) and Biohealth Sciences (1993) in complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) (UCM). He obtained the Degree of Doctor of Medicine (1994) with Extraordinary Prize granted by UCM. He did his medical residency in La Paz University Hospital (Hospital Universitario de la Paz) (1993-97) and Master’s Degree in Palliative Care (1997) in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), in combination with extended postdoctoral internships in University of Alabama (Birmingham) and University of California (San Francisco). He was the attending physician of Medical Oncology in gastrointestinal and thoracic cancer and laboratory coordinator for the Translational Oncology Group of Hospital Universitario de la Paz
(Madrid), He is an associate professor of UAM and visiting professor of UCM. He is currently the Director of Medical Oncology Department at the Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofía de Madrid and a Coordinating Professor of Oncology in the Universidad Europea de Madrid. He has received 7 awards in recognition of his research work from institutions as prestigious as the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Jaime Feliú Batlle
Director of the Medical Oncology Department, La Paz University Hospital and Professor of Oncology in the Medicine Faculty and Director of Master’s Degree in Palliative Care and Treatments for Cancer Patient Support at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Group leader of the Clinical Oncology Group
Dr. Jaime Feliú Batlle holds a Degree in Medicine and Surgery from Universidad Complutense de Madrid issued in 1982. He specialized in Medical Oncology in Hospital Universitario de la Paz, where he is currently the Director of Medical Oncology Department. He is a professor of Oncology in the Medicine Area of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) and Director of Master’s Degree in Palliative Care and Treatments for Cancer Patient Support of UAM. Furthermore, he is the current president of the Multidisciplinary Spanish Group of Digestive Cancer (GEMCAD).He has participated as a principal investigator or co-investigator in more than 70 phase I, II and III trials.
He has written or co-written more than 200 articles for national and international journals, more than 60 book chapters and has presented a arge number of communications in national and international congresses.
Dr. Ana María Jiménez Gordo
Director of the Medical Oncology Department, La Paz University Hospital and Professor of Oncology in the Medicine Faculty and Director of Master’s Degree in Palliative Care and Treatments for Cancer Patient Support at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Group leader of the Clinical Oncology Group.
Dr. Ana M. Jiménez Gordo. Graduated in Surgery and Medicine
at Universidad Autonoma Madrid (1994). Specialty in Medical Oncology at Hospital Universitario La Paz (1998). PhD in Medicine at Universidad Autonoma Madrid (2004). Master in Palliative Care of Neoplastic Patient at Hospital La Paz (1998). Master in Molecular Oncology at CNIO (2009). Associate Profesor in Oncology at Universidad Europea Madrid from 2013. She has worked as Medical Oncologist in Hospital La Paz (1990-2000). Hospital Alcorcon (2000-2005). Hospital Getafe
(2005-2013). Hospital Infanta Sofía from 2013. Pfeizer Fundation Prize, Clinical Investigation 2012. She has more tan 80 national and international publications, congress communications and book chapters. She is member of Spanish Society of Clinical Oncology and
has collaborated in several work groups of long cancer survivors, translational investigation, geriatric Oncology and doing some Clinical Guideliness. Recently she collaborates in clinical developmentof the IMDEA Project “Clinical Formulation por individualized nutrition of
Dr. María Sereno Moyano
Oncologist Infanta Sofía University Hospital Associate researcher, IMDEA Food
María Sereno finished her undergraduate studies in Medicine and Surgery (1999) in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). She did her medical residency in La Paz University Hospital (2000-2003) and a Master’s Degree in Palliative Care (1997) in Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM). She obtained the Degree of Doctor of Medicine (2005). She did a post-doctoral internship in Thoracic Program with Prof. S. Antonia in Moffit Comprenhensive Cancer Center in South Florida University (Tampa, Florida). She did a Master’s Degree in Molecular Oncology in the Oncology Research National Cancer Institute (2007-2009) in Madrid and another Master’s Degree in Immuno-oncology in Medical Department in Alcalá University (2017). She was the attending physician of Medical Oncology in Gastrointestinal and Thoracic Cancer unit from 2004-2008 and then, she moved to Infanta Sofía University Hospital (San Sebastian de Los Reyes, Madrid), where she is working in Thoracic and Genitourinary Tumors section. She is associate professor in European University of Madrid (UEM) since 3 years ago. She had published several papers and has participated in different traslational oncology projects, some of them with public support, as FIS and Plan Nacional.
Dr. César Gómez Raposo
Oncologist Infanta Sofía University Hospital Associate researcher, IMDEA Food
César Gómez Raposo obtained his Medicine Degree at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2002 and later his Medical Oncology speciality at Hospital Universitario La Paz in 2007. He performed his doctoral thesis (Excellent Cum Laude) in 2012 focused on ovarian cancer. Since 2008 he worked as medical oncologist at Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofía in San Sebastián de los Reyes, mainly in breast and gynecological cancer. As a result of this activity has participated in more than 25 papers published in peer reviewed medical or scientific journals, and has taken part in international clinical trials in breast and gynecological cancer.
Molecular Immunonutrition Group
Group leader: Dr. Moisés Laparra Llopis
Objectives: immunonutritional-based precision intervention strategies to a selective and driven modulation
of innate immune responses preventing/treating the risk for severity of liver-related diseases and
antitumoral response (s).
Cereals, legumes and other grains have been shown to contain several different protease inhibitors, which
have been assigned to different families on the basis of amino acid sequence similarities. These molecules
play important roles as defensive agents against insects and pests, but also potentially deleterious/
beneficial effects in human nutrition and immune function.
The latter represent greatest stimulus for Dr. Laparra’s research. Particularly, his research approaches the naturally powerful immunostimulatory property of toll-like receptors (TLRs) agonists for active immunotherapy against liver metabolic dysfunction and cancer promotion. Here, a better understanding and use of the immunonutritional-mediated TLR activation can greatly impact the functional differentiation and polarization of macrophages, as relevant prognostic biomarkers of tissue damage and tumor progression.
Additionally, the selective and driven metabolic programming of antigen presenting cells have important roles in the regulation of CD4+T cells priming as well as immune checkpoint blockade. Thereby, preventing effector CD8+T cells exhaustion and longer anti-tumoral response(s). A clear example is the activation of intestinal innate immune responses via TLR4 by defined non-gluten members of the α-amylase/trypsin inhibitors family, present in wheat endosperm and the source of flour. Besides, Dr. Laparra’s research provided significant contributions demonstrating that defined prebiotic structures modulate TLR4 innate immune responses, but normalizes the plasmatic concentrations of phospholipids, central in the setting of therapeutic effects.
Additionally, his research line contributed with effective immunonutritional interventions to promote an anti-inflammatory environment advantageous to CD8+ effector T cells development and reduce hepatic macrophages infiltration. These effects on macrophages, central in coordinating innate immune responses, were associated to changes in the expression of the fatty acid receptor, recently associated to regulation of metastasic penetrance and tumor growth. The extent to which immunonutritional-based modulation can be translated into physiological benefits for large groups of population affected by liver-related diseases is a central objective of this research line.
Dr. Moisés Laparra Llopis
Group leader of the Molecular Immunonutrition Group
José Moisés Laparra Llopis holds a PhD in Pharmacy gained during his stay at the High Research Council of the Spanish Government. His scientific career is focused on the field of intestinal homeostasis and the crosstalk within gut-liver axis. The novelty and scientific and social impact of his studies was used by the European Food Safety Authority to establish recommendations concerning staple foods. A continuous contact and interaction with internationally renowned
research groups constitutes a constant in Dr. Laparra’s career. He held a leading position on prebiotic research awarded by The Fulbright Commission to conduct postdoctoral research in the Food Science Department at Cornell University. Additionally,
he participated in teaching activities that end up in a renowned honor thesis awarded by the professional organization for food science and technology professionals in the U.S. This experience favored his incorporation to the Institute of Translational Immunology at the University Medical Center of Mainz University as independent researcher. Dr. Laparra has published over 70 scientific articles and book chapters. He has overseen several precompetitive public funded projects. As senior researcher at IMDEA Food he develops immunonutritional-
based precision strategies to tumor suppressioner.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 213