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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

20 Apr 2018

Breakthrough discovery in cancer research funded by the EU

Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), funded by grants from the European Research Council (ERC), have taken a big leap forward in cancer research. The research team led by Professor Cédric Blanpain defined for the first time tumour growth phases during cancer progression and identified the types of tumour cells causing metastases in skin and breast cancer. Skin cancer is the most frequent cancer worldwide and breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "I am extremely pleased to hear that once again ERC researchers have found a way to solve a – let me call it – research mystery. The fight against cancer is a paramount mission of the scientific community. This discovery underlines the importance of curiosity-driven research and how much it contributes to our society."

Professor Blanpain received over the last ten years ERC grants worth €4 million directly supporting his work in cancer research and these breakthrough results. The findings, published by Nature magazine, show that researchers were able to identify at least seven different types of tumour cells and demonstrated that they are not all functionally equivalent and equally metastatic. This discovery will have major implications for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of cancer patients.

ERC Press Release

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