Barcelona to offer cancer treatment 'on demand'

The new Research Unit for Molecular Therapy at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital will be able to treat 400 patients a year. It will study each particular tumour differently, on a case per case basis, and analyse it?s genome.

Xavi Sorinas

June 25, 2010 04:58 PM

The Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona has unveiled its Research Unit of Molecular Therapy for Cancer (UITM), the first such centre of its kind in Spain. The centre will allow researchers to analyse and study each particular tumour, as "every cancer patient needs a different treatment", according to the director of this new unit, Jose Baselga. According to Dr. Baselga, such treatments “on demand” should allow for less aggressive and less toxic therapies. That said, he did also warn that radiotherapy and chemotherapy will not be replaced but rather reduced. The new unit is expected to treat 400 patients a year.
The new unit will allow for defining the genome sequence of the tumour allowing medical staff to implement a more effective treatment regarding the necessary drug combination to be used. One of the main advantages in this case is that chemotherapy may be applied with a lesser intensity and therefore will be “less aggressive”.

Across Europe there are a dozen such centres. The president of the Catalan Government, José Montilla, attended the opening of this unit and made it clear that Catalonia is fast becoming a reference in medical scientific research. In this sense, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) is one of the largest biomedical research clusters in Southern Europe. Its main goal is to generate new knowledge in health and life sciences and transfer findings to companies and businesses worldwide.