The research project led by Dr. Neus Martínez, of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and Dr. Pilar Navarro, of the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), 'Early detection of Pancreatic Cancer' has been awarded the Vanguardia de la Ciència 2022 prize, co-organised by Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation and La Vanguardia. This research was voted for by the readers of La Vanguardia and by the expert panel as Spain's most important female-led scientific advancement this year.
The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, focuses on detecting the soluble AXL protein in the blood to detect the presence of pancreatic cancer before symptoms appear. The early diagnosis strategy has been tested in a sample of 269 patients from Hospital Clínic and Hospital del Mar, showing that this protein is abnormally elevated in people with pancreatic cancer.
The authors of the study warned that the results need to be confirmed in larger studies before the analysis of soluble AXL is accepted as a valid technique for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Of the eight shortlisted, the winner received 21.1% of the votes. Inés Marín's research (IRB) 'Senescent Cells Activate Immunity' came second with 17.9% of the votes; and in third place, Cátia Montero (CNIO) with the research 'How to Improve Radiotherapy in Brain Tumours' receiving 15% of the votes.
The Vanguardia de la Ciència award is awarded to outstanding research conducted in Spain and, in its 2022 edition, focused on research with women as first authors or as principal researchers with a view to improving the visibility of women in science. The award ceremony will be held on 26th April in La Pedrera.