IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer Miquel Porta

GRECMC is and strives to be a research group with a global and local scholarly influence and recognition. We conceive, develop, and execute this influence mainly through research, teaching, and knowledge transfer, which includes a regular activity in global and local academic institutions, international media, networks, and advocacy forums. In 2014 we published in journals ranging from Nature Genetics and Endocrine Reviews to journals internationally recognised in the fields of molecular, clinical, and environmental epidemiology: such a broad integration of basic, clinical and epidemiologic knowledge is one of our signs of identity worldwide. A Dictionary of Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 2014) reflects as well our aims, approaches, and accomplishments.

Our knowledge transfer activities are often reflected not only on Spanish media but also globally. For example, the article we published with Muncke et al. (Food packaging and migration of food contact materials) had a worldwide media impact (BBC, The Guardian, The Times, El País, Daily Express, Huffington Post UK, Independent, Metro London, Medical News Today, CTV News, The Mirror, MSN news, Times of India, etc.); this put the article in the top 5% of all articles (n=2,192,789) ever monitored by Altmetric.

In 2014 we started the study on plasma concentrations of organochlorine compounds, life styles and conditions, and pancreatic cancer risk in the EPIC cohort, funded with more than 400,000€ by FIS/ISCIII and Marató de TV3.

Research lines

Clinical and molecular epidemiology of exocrine pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis and cancer of the extrahepatic biliary system. This line is now focused on the PANKRAS II study, a joint collaboration with the Unit of Cellular and Molecular Biology of IMIM, as well as with other organizations such as CNIO, CSIC (environmental chemical agents), US National Cancer Institute (proteomics), University Miguel Hernandez from Elche, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (project on BRCA2), the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Harvard School of Public Health - Channing Laboratories (project on CYP1B1), and Imperial College London, among others.

Indicators of quality of oncological care. Analysis of outpatient and inpatient phases of the "Symptom to treatment interval" (STI) and its impact on survival. Early detection of breast cancer. This line of work is based on the Tumour Registry Working Group at the Hospital del Mar and on the "Breast Cancer Population Screening Programme".

Cancer: our vision

Clinically and epidemiologically, cancer is a complex set of diseases that result from the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations during the lifecourse interaction of genetic, epigenetic and environmental processes –"environmental" including the physical environment as well as the health and sociocultural environments. We believe that studies on the molecular bases of cancer:

  • should be taken beyond the laboratory and into the clinical and population contexts, using a scientifically rigorous methodology (usually, in our case, genetic-molecular-epidemiological methods).
  • should try to get “closer to the bedside”, and their usefulness for clinical practice must be assessed properly.
  • sometimes may be integrated with studies on the environmental causes of cancer; it may hence be possible to assess the extent to which they may contribute to improve the effectiveness of primary prevention programmes and policies.

We also think that the so-called "schism" among basic, clinical and public health sciences impacts negatively on all three domains, both in practical terms and in terms of scientific knowledge.

The aim to increase knowledge on the etiology of cancer is in our view one of the most ambitious scientific objectives, both from the biological and from the public health perspectives –for two main reasons:

  1. knowledge on causes is an essential pre-requisite for primary prevention –the only type of prevention that decreases the incidence of a human disease.
  2. interactions between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors constitute a highly relevant area for ethiopathogenic research for pancreatic and other cancers: their study has yielded new scientific knowledge on the molecular bases of the carcinogenic processes.

Thus, integrative studies on the causes of cancer are a 'natural meeting point' between molecular biology, clinical medicine and epidemiology.

We aim to achieve an optimal integration of professional cultures, scientific knowledge, methodologies and techniques from epidemiology, clinical medicine and the biological sciences. Our group has worked transdisciplinary for 25 years; we are one of the pioneer and leading groups in Spain on clinical and molecular epidemiology.

Contact

Coordinator:
Miquel Porta

Tel:
93 316 07 00

Fax:
93 316 04 10

Doctor Aiguader, 88
08003 Barcelona

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