In addition to our institutional VHIO-FERO Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Program* (DIAMAV), powered by the essential support received from one of our patrons, FERO, the Foundation also grows the careers of up-and-coming talents in cancer research, and drives several other initiatives aimed at advancing precision medicine in oncology. These include various crowdfundings via the Mi Grano de Arena online platform that have also provided precious funding to advance research and develop novel techniques including the liquid biopsy blood-based ‘policing’ of cancer .

For a second year running, FERO has launched a swimathon fundraiser, Marnaton Cadaqués con FERO#Marnaton4FERO, incorporating a group of 30 volunteer swimmers, including VHIO supporters and faculty members, who will take part in the annual Cadaqués swimathon taking place in one month’s time, September 14, 2019. The campaign target has been set at 15.000 EUR and all donations received will support the development of ctDNA liquid biopsy for predicting, detecting and counteracting disease relapse and metastatic cell spread in patients suffering from colon cancer.

Building on recent findings** reported by VHIO’s Stem Cells & Cancer Group in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, that not only showed the epigenetic enzyme TET2 as an orchestrator of the control and survival of dormant tumor cells (DTC) as promoters of cancer recurrence, but also revealed that 5-Hydroxymethylcystosine (5hmC), generated by TET2, can be utilized as a biomarker for chemoresistant DTC detection and predictor of worse survival.

Directed by Principal Investigator Héctor G. Palmer, his group, in collaboration with other VHIO researchers and clinical investigators, are now seeking to translate these two important findings at the clinical level toward potentiating cancer therapeutics, preventing cancer relapse and extending patients’ survival.

Specifically, this funding will enable VHIO teams to further develop liquid biopsy and bring this technique closer to prime time. Money raised through this crowdfunding initiative will thus help accelerate current efforts aimed at moving faster and getting smarter in targeting these notoriously difficult to detect ‘sleeper’ cells  (also known as slow-cycling cancer cells – SCCC), as well as predicting and counteracting their next moves as seeders of tumors and disease progression.

To discover more about the campaign in Spanish, access a special interview with VHIO’s Héctor G. Palmer, and pledge your support today please visit #Marnaton4FERO’s crowdfunding page: https://www.migranodearena.org/reto/20356/marnaton4fero-nos-mojamos-por-un-mejor-diagnostico-del-cancer.

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*The VHIO-FERO DIAMAV Program enables us to lead one of the few centers in Europe to run such a comprehensive program, ensure that more of our patients can ultimately benefit from our powerful technologies and approaches, further advance research into more effective and less invasive tracking of cancer by liquid biopsy, as well as develop cancer diagnostics for the early detection of disease. To discover more, please visit: http://www.vhio.net/en/fero-foundations-advanced-molecular-diagnostics-program/.

** Puig I, Tenbaum SP, Chicote I, Arqués O, Martínez-Quintanilla J, Cuesta-Borrás E, Ramírez L, Gonzalo P, Soto A, Aguilar S, Eguizabal C, Caratù G, Prat A, Argilés G, Landolfi S, Casanovas O, Serra V, Villanueva A, Arroyo AG, Terracciano L, Nuciforo P, Seoane J, Recio JA, Vivancos A, Dienstmann R, Tabernero J, Palmer HG. TET2 controls chemoresistant slow-cycling cancer cell survival and tumor recurrence. J Clin Invest.2018 Aug 31;128(9):3887-3905.