A study by IDIBELL, ICO and IGTP puts precision medicine at the service of nerve tumors

Scientists have managed to expand their precision medicine platform, allowing a detailed study of tumors of the nervous system.

This improvement opens the door to more personalized therapeutic strategies and has been reflected in an article recently published in the journal Molecular Oncology.


A research team, led by Dr. Conxi Lázaro, head of the hereditary cancer group at IDIBELL and the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), and Dr. Eduard Serra, from the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), has published in the journal Molecular Oncology the expansion of a precision medicine platform to analyze and improve treatments for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). These tumors are known to be aggressive and have a low survival rate, especially in patients with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), an inherited disease that affects approximately 1 in 3,000 people. They represent between 3 and 10% of all soft tissue tumors or sarcomas in the general population, while they have a prevalence ranging between 8 and 15% in patients with NF1.


Now, researchers have been able to implant fragments of new MPNSTs from patients into mice, and have isolated cell lines from the same tumors, thus providing a laboratory environment to study these tumors. Once these biological replicas that maintain the characteristics of the original tumors were created, scientists carried out an exhaustive characterization of their genome, epigenome and histology. This approach allows researchers to better understand the behavior of tumors and how they might respond to treatments. Edgar Creus-Bachiller, doctoral researcher at IDIBELL, and Dr. Juana Fernandez, head of Mouse Lab at IDIBELL, have led the experimental work and subsequent analysis.


IGTP hereditary cancer group, co-leader of this research

In fact, the results have even allowed a more precise classification of tumors, identifying that some previously considered MPNST could correspond to other tumor entities. This discovery, combined with the possibility of testing drugs to evaluate their effectiveness, will open the door to more personalized and beneficial therapeutic strategies.


This work has been carried out in collaboration with the researcher Dr. Alberto Villanueva from IDIBELL and the ICO. In addition, Fernández is part of the central core of the Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee, the body responsible for ensuring compliance with the 3Rs in all animal experimentation models. This principle governs animal experimentation with the goal of replacing the use of animals whenever possible, minimizing the number of animals used and refining procedures to minimize pain to laboratory animals.



The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).


Original paper:

Expanding a precision medicine platform for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors: New patient-derived orthotopic xenografts, cell lines and tumor entities. Creus-Bachiller E, Fernández-Rodríguez J, Magallón-Lorenz M, Ortega-Bertran S, Navas-Rutete S, Romagosa C, Silva TM, Pané M, Estival A, Perez Sidelnikova D, Morell M, Mazuelas H, Carrió M, Lausová T, Reuss D, Gel B, Villanueva A, Serra E, Lázaro C. Mol Oncol. 2023 Oct 5. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.13534.

Share on:

Scroll to Top