Research team led by Duarte Barral wins LPCC-NRS/Terry Fox Oncology Research Grant 2022-23

Research team led by Duarte Barral wins the prestigious LPCC-NRS/Terry Fox Oncology Research Grant 2022-2023, worth €15,000.00, with the research project entitled “Targeting lysosome exocytosis to impair breast cancer progression and metastasis”.

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With this project, the research team wants to find new therapeutic strategies to prevent the progression of breast cancer and the formation of metastases, the main cause of death in these patients. By uncovering new potential therapeutic targets that will allow to minimize the spread of cancer cells and the formation of metastases, we will be able to improve the survival rate and quality of life of patients. Duarte Barral believes this project "could lead to a significant advance in the treatment of breast cancer". Furthermore, the cellular processes that we are studying are used by cells of different cancer types and, therefore, our findings can also potentially be applied to other cancers.    

Despite the therapeutic strategies available for breast cancer, which are effective in decreasing tumor growth, metastasis remains of great concern and the major cause of cancer-related deaths. Triple negative BC (TNBC) subtype has the worst prognosis, and a high risk of relapse and metastasis formation. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that drive tumor cell invasion is crucial to find new therapeutic strategies and improve TNBC patients’ survival rate.   

Lysosomes are the cell’s degradative compartments and have recently emerged as important players in tumor progression, since they are important to maintain cell homeostasis. Lysosomes can also be secreted from the cell. The release of lysosomal contents to the extracellular space is required for extracellular matrix degradation and cell invasion and drug efflux, contributing to chemotherapeutic drug resistance.  This project envisions the establishment of a new therapeutic strategy to impair TNBC progressio and proposes targeting lysosome secretion, in TNBC cells, to delay cell invasion, tumor progression and metastasis formation.

"This award is the recognition of the work developed by our team in the field of oncobiology" emphasizes Duarte Barral, for whom this award represents a “seal of quality”, which will allow the team to be recognized in oncobiology research at national and international level.


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The award ceremony took place on April 4th during the VII Jornadas de Investigação em Oncologia, at Auditório da Vieira de Almeida.

Learn more about the LPCC-NRS/Terry Fox Research Grants.

Membrane Traffic in Disease

Duarte C. Barral