From left to right: Susan Balet Robinson, Cristina Saura, Sergi Cuadrado, Inés Gasén and Elaine Robinson.

Presented to Cristina Saura, Principal Investigator of VHIO’s Breast Cancer Group, and VHIO’s Deputy Managing Director, Sergi Cuadrado this week, the proceeds from the ninth El Paseíco de la Mama* 7.5 km sponsored walk along Zaragoza’s canal will continue to fuel liquid biopsy-based research against breast cancer.

Spurred by the tremendous success and interest generated by the previous eight annual ‘strollathons’, a record breaking 500 walkers completed this year’s route on 01 June, and raised over 43,400 EUR. This year’s fundraising will continue to back research into the liquid biopsy ‘policing’ of breast cancer led by Cristina Saura, in collaboration with Marta Capelan and Santiago Escrivá, both Medical Oncologists and Clinical Investigators of her group.

The liquid biopsy is a blood-based test that can non-invasively reveal circulating tumor DNA that is release by tumor cells into the bloodstream. This circulating DNA contains vital signals, components and genetic information about what is actually occurring in a tumor, providing VHIO’s medical oncologists and our multidisciplinary teams with a much bigger picture regarding the specificities and status of an individual patient’s cancer.

Building on the back of VHIO’s seroteca library of collected blood samples from patients with breast cancer for the identification of prognostic and predictive markers of response or resistance to therapy, Santiago Escrivá will hone in on HER2-positive breast and investigate the correlation between HER2 amplification in tumor tissue and liquid biopsy.

Commenting for VHIO Communications, Cristina Saura said, We hypothesize that HER-2 negativization detected by liquid biopsy is a mechanism of primary or acquired resistance to anti-HER2 therapies. Using our collected samples and VHIO’s suite of latest technologies, we intend to pioneer a completely novel approach, namely assessing HER-2 overexpression in blood-based samples.”

She continued, “VHIO-led research aimed at developing and advancing the liquid biopsy-tracking of disease will continue to bring the necessary insights to render the treatment and care of an increasing number of our patients more precise.”

With the wellbeing of our patients at the center of everything we do, a second, newly launched project spearhead by Marta Capelan will also be supported thanks to the funding raised by El Paseíco de la Mama. Cristina’s team will evaluate the benefits of yoga in breast cancer survivors who are suffering from moderate or severe fatigue, 3-6 months after receiving primary therapy with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.   More specifically, they will assess the patients’ gains post 16 weeks’ yoga, two sessions per week, considering measurables such as fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive deterioration, and evaluating subjective parameters (quality of life scorings) and objective ones (circulating levels of cytokines, inflammatory gene expression levels, evaluation by electronic devices and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging).

Participants in this study will be pre-referred by their oncologists, and will complete a survey on their respective levels of fatigue. They will also commit to the total of 16 weeks’ yoga sessions as well as complete questionnaires about their symptoms throughout the course of these classes.

Cristina added, “Our efforts must also continue to center on learning more about our patients’ persisting symptoms post-treatment and identify complimentary ways to help alleviate them. Building on the significant body of research that supports the importance of exercise for cancer patients, we hope to further establish the benefits to be gained through the practice of yoga.”  

In the name of investigation dedicated to improving outcomes for breast cancer patients we thank the tremendous determination and drive of the founders, supporters, walkers and friends of El Paseíco de la Mama.


*About El Paseíco de la Mama

El Paseíco de la Mama first took shape when Inés Gasén was diagnosed with breast cancer during her pregnancy – not only naturally provoking fear and uncertainty for her and her family, but also raising many questions and doubts concerning the health and the future ahead for her baby.

Triggering a call to action in her mother in-law, Elaine, and driven by the need to bring a positive out of the then challenging times, she decided to organize an annual sponsored walk to raise funds aimed at advancing insights into breast cancer.

Rallying support among their family and circle of friends and acquaintances, Elaine and her two daughters Pili and Susan, and Inés, founded El Paseíco de la Mama in 2011 with the inaugural walk which took place in June that year. Gaining momentum and upping the pace year in, year out, El Paseíco de la Mama continues to report an increase in the number of participants, donations and personal pledges.