Our current goals are to determine the specific mechanisms and signaling pathways whereby oxidative stress and inflammation lead to cachexia (cancer-induced cachexia models) and dysplasia in the airways of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, COPD-lung cancer models). In a second stage, specific therapeutic strategies for each condition will also be explored.
So far, our main research interests have focused on the study of the implications of oxidative stress in the process of skeletal muscle loss, which is characteristic of several conditions such as COPD, sepsis, cancer cachexia, and cardiac cachexia. Oxidative stress induces on the one hand, modifications in both proteins and DNA. On the other, it may act as a signaling pathway leading to muscle proteolysis and apoptosis. Treatment with antioxidants and other therapies that lead to reduced production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been proposed as potential pharmacological strategies that may alleviate the muscle loss of those chronic disabling conditions. Our group is currently participating in two financed projects (Ministry of Health) addressing these questions.
Furthermore, it has recently been suggested that both oxidative and nitrosative stress may also be involved in the pathogenesis of lung cancer, and that COPD is a risk factor per se. One of the most relevant ongoing research projects in our group was designed in order to explore to what extent oxidative stress favors lung cancer in the airways of patients with COPD compared to a group of lung cancer patients without COPD. Inflammation and growth factors such as VEGF will also be explored in this project. Our group is currently participating in one financed project addressing these questions and will apply for funds to the Spanish Health Ministry in the next call.
In the last few years, our group has obtained funds from several national and international agencies. At the national level, our projects have been mostly funded by the Spanish Health Ministry, the Spanish Respiratory Society (SEPAR), and the Catalan Respiratory Society (SOCAP). We are also part of the Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CibeRes) of the Spanish Health Ministry and also have a grant awarded by the Ajuts de Suport als Grups de Recerca de Catalunya of the Catalan Government (Generalitat de Catalunya). At the international level, our group has received funds from the European Commission (collaborative projects) on several previous occasions. We have recently submitted to the European Commission a collaborative project, coordinated from Pavia (Italy), along with other European partners.
Some of us belong to different scientific societies such as the Catalan Respiratory Society (SOCAP), the Spanish Respiratory Society (SEPAR), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), and the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Data from different ongoing studies in our group are presented in the corresponding scientific meetings, being held annually. Some of us also act as reviewers of the corresponding Biomedical Journals of these scientific societies. Furthermore, Dr. Esther Barreiro is one of the Editors of the Spanish Journal Archivos de Bronconeumología (IF: 1.851).