• A research on the diagnostics and monitoring of tumors wins the Valdés-Salas Award for Applied Biomedicine

    December 19, 2014

    Doctor Alberto Orfao and the Cytognos enterprise win the international award for the development of innovative tools applied to the evaluation of the treatment of patients with leukemia and lymphomas

    The human team of Cytognos.

    A research related to the development of new tools to diagnose, classify and monitor patients with leukemias and lymphomas has won the 3rd Valdés-Salas Award for Applied Biomedicine. Doctor Alberto Orfao, from the Center for Cancer Research of the University of Salamanca, and the Cytognos enterprise have been awarded with the jury of the international award, presided over by the biochemist of the University of Oviedo Carlos López-Otín.

    The scientific labor of the group led by Doctor Orfao has served as the basis for the creation and development of the enterprise Cytognos, which has transformed six international patents of the Center for Cancer Research of the University of Salamanca into a large catalog of products.

    Both the patents and the scientific publications derived from the research are aimed at introducing technological innovations in the diagnostic screening, the classification, evaluation of the response to the treatment and the monitoring of almost all different subtypes of leukemias and lymphomas.

    Doctor Orfao claims that even though its main applications are currently focused on the field of clinical diagnostics, classification and evaluation/monitoring of the response to the treatment by these tumors, in parallel they could be applied to other fields of diagnostics and evaluation of procedures of active immunotherapy -for example, vaccination- and in diseases related to the immune system, such as infections, immunodeficiencies and allergies.

    The work is framed in the field of cytometry, which analyzes simultaneously hundreds of thousands of individual cells per second. This technology is also capable of characterizing in a matter of minutes millions of cells present in a biological sample. "Through this technology we can determine structural components of the cells analyzed (concrete quantity of proteins and in different physiological or formative states, expression of messenger RNA or DNA present in each of the cells analyzed), or specific functions performed by them", claims Professor Orfao.

    The tools developed allow us, in the end, to select the most suitable treatment for each patient, and to know the quality of the response obtained through the monitoring of the presence or absence and the possible levels of a minimal residual disease that persists during and at the end of the treatment.

    The Cytognos enterprise has managed to generate and create an increasing number of products currently available throughout Europe, as well as in Asia, Australia, Latin America, the USA and Canada. With them, it actively participates with a high-profile role in what we may call the productive tissue of the society of knowledge. Currently, more than 40 people work in this enterprise, which is present in close to 50 countries all around the world.

    Apart from Professor Carlos López Otín, Tenured Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Oviedo, the jury was composed by: José Elguero Bertoli, Professor Emeritus of the CSIC; Vicente Gotor Santamaría, Tenured Professor of Organic Chemistry of the University of Oviedo; Agustín Hidalgo Balsera, Tenured Professor of Pharmacology of the University of Oviedo; Evaristo Suárez Fernández, Tenured Professor of Microbiology of the University of Oviedo; Clara Campás-Moya, Research Director of KERN PHARMA SL; Ramón Estiarte Navarro, Medical Director of BAYER HEALTHCARE; Pablo Ramos Vallina, President of COFAS, and Francisco Rodríguez, President of ILAS-RENY PICOT, and acting as Secretary, without voting rights, José Pedreira Menéndez, Secretary of the Valdés-Salas Foundation.

    The Valdés-Salas Award for Applied Biomedicine grants €8,000 and its objective is to recognize a research that has been used by an enterprise, awarding the close collaboration between the entrepreneurial and scientific worlds to achieve a greater efficiency in the processes of production of products that already exist, or the development of new ones. The award is managed by the Valdés-Salas Foundation of the University of Oviedo.