Through in vitro and in vivo models, the aim is to reproduce the key events in the process of metastasis of epithelial cancers of the breast and prostate, representing a preclinical scenario close to the patient’s reality. These models are instruments for the study of the main mechanisms of metastasis, the molecular and functional characterization of tumour cells, as well as tools for their use in the clinic.

Roberto Piñeiro Cid is head of the Cancer Modelling line at the Roche-Chus Joint Unit.

In Vitro Models

Our research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of tumour spread by modelling the clusters of circulating tumour cells (CTC-clusters), small groups of tumour cells that contribute to the metastatic process. Likewise, through the reproduction in culture of the tumour heterogeneity, we study its contribution to the process of tumour cell dissemination and metastasis seeding.

The development of experimental models closely reflecting the clinical reality is a challenge in research projects today. In our research line we look for in vitro preclinical models that represent a clinically relevant and realistic perspective of the determinants of metastatic disease.

Zebrafish as biological model system

Animal models complement in vitro models in preclinical research. One of these models is based on the xenotransplantation of tumour cells in zebrafish (Danio rerio), a very versatile model recently implemented in oncology.

The possibility of injecting a small number of labelled tumour cells into the zebrafish embryo and monitoring them in real time by imaging techniques, allows to perform functional tests quickly and economically. Real-time monitoring of tumour cells in these clinically relevant models is a valuable tool for the study of metastasis, and allows statistically sound results to be obtained with a small number of animals.



Roberto Piñeiro Cid
Head of the Cancer Modelling Line of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit
Carmen Abuín Redondo
Laboratory Technician of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit
Inés Martínez Pena
FPU predoctoral student of the Cancer Modeling line of the Roche-Chus joint Unit
Pablo Hurtado Blanco
Predoctoral student of the Cancer Modeling line of the Roche-Chus joint Unit

La Unidad Mixta Roche-Chus está cofinanciada por la Axencia Galega de Innovación, GAIN de la Xunta de Galicia: “Subvención a organismos de investigación de Galicia para a creación, posta en marcha e impulso de Unidades Mixtas de Investigación” de la Xunta de Galicia en el marco del Plan Galego de Investigación, Innovación e Crecemento- i2C.