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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Association between non-coding RNAs in ultra-conserved regions (T-UCR) and the epigenome: involvement in cancer

Lead Researcher:
Manel Esteller Badosa 

Research Centre:
Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program. Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL). Barcelona. (Spain).

Manel EstellerEpigenetic alterations contribute to the onset and progression of tumours. Recently, it has been established that non-coding RNAs are key elements involved in the biology of healthy cells and the development of several diseases, including cancer. The best studied non-coding RNAs are microRNAs, but the other non-coding RNAs that have emerged with great interest are T-UCRs ("ultraconserved regions"). This project seeks to determine whether T-UCRs are regulated epigenetically, both at the level of DNA methylation and histone modification, and by miRNAs, items that are altered in cancer and whose degree of contribution to the human tumerogenesis process is still a matter to be resolved. Research in this sense offers the opportunity to discover new mechanisms and signal transduction pathways altered in cancer, as well as the identification of new molecular markers and new therapeutic agents 


9 articles published in Journals
2 papers at national conferences
2 papers at international conferences 

Manel Esteller Badosa 
He was born in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1968, and graduated with Honours in Medicine from the University of Barcelona in 1992, where he also obtained his Ph.D. specialising in Molecular Genetics of Endometrial Carcinoma in 1996. He was Research Fellow in the School of Biological and Medical Sciences at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland, United Kingdom), where his research focused on the study of molecular genetics in hereditary breast cancer. From 1997 to 2001, Esteller was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Associate at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) where he studied DNA methylation and its relationship to cancer in humans. His results have been instrumental in establishing that hypermethylation of tumour suppressor genes is a hallmark of human tumours. From October 2001 to September 2008, Manel Esteller led the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory at the CNIO. During this time he was devoted to the investigation of alterations in DNA methylation, histone and chromatin modifications and their contribution to cancer in humans. Since October 2008, Dr. Esteller has been the Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Programme of the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL) in Barcelona, Professor of Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona and ICREA Research Professor. His current research focuses on the establishment of epigenomic maps of normal and transformed cells, the study of epigenetic modifications and non-coding RNAs and the epigenetic development of new drugs to treat cancer. Dr. Esteller has authored over two hundred and fifty original manuscripts accredited in the field of biomedical sciences, is a member of numerous international scientific societies and publications and a reviewer for several journals and sponsoring agencies. He has received numerous awards including the European School of Medical Oncology Award (1999), Outstanding Young Investigator of the European Association for Cancer Research (2000), Beckman-Coulter Award (2006), Debiopharm-EPFL Award (2008), Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award (2009), Preclinical Biomedical Research Award from the Lilly Endowment (2009) and the Carmen and Severo Ochoa Foundation Research Award (2009). 

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