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Spain, Mass General Launch Cancer Biomarker Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The BBVA Foundation will provide €2.5 million ($3.4 million) to fund a cancer biomarker collaboration between the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (MGHCC) and the Vall d'Hebrón Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona, the Foundation said today.

The funding will be evenly split between MGHCC and VHIO, with MGHCC matching the contribution from the Foundation. Both institutions will enable their collaborators with access to their biomarker platforms in genomics, proteomics, and molecular pathology.

The joint research effort called the BBVA Foundation Tumor Biomarkers Research Program will fund work to develop personalized cancer therapies through biomarker research and to study individual tumors. BBVA is a global group that provides financial and non-financial products and services to corporate and individual customers.

The research at the two centers will pursue new drug discovery and efforts to improve existing drug therapies with the aim of developing individually tailored treatments and speeding up their advancement into clinical care. The studies will focus on colorectal, breast, and lung cancer initially, but the partners expect to expand them into other cancer types such as melanomas, lymphomas, or prostate cancer.

The biomarkers program also seeks to design protocols for clinical trials that allow patients to benefit from newly-discovered drugs earlier in the disease process, and to develop pharmacogenomic tools that measure patient response to targeted cancer drugs.

BBVA President Francisco González said in a statement that the "international cooperation model underlying this program is not a novelty for the BBVA Foundation, but rather reflects our conviction that the best research is currently being done in cross-border networks involving hubs of excellence.”