Research Projects

Our Venom Biobank

We have generated and assembled a unique Animal Venom Biobank that we constantly expand as a vast drug discovery resource. Our Venom Biobank is a collection from various species (arthropods, reptiles, amphibians etc.) that we frequently screen to identify biological active compounds with therapeutic & biotechnological applications against human diseases.

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Novel safe anticancer drug candidates to battle metastatic melanoma

Anticancer drug candidates derived from animal-venoms

Malignant melanoma is one of the most lethal types of skin cancer, whose incidence has been significantly increased in the last 50 years. Melanoma at early stages of prognosis is treatable by surgical resection. However, at advanced or metastatic stages paints a more complicate picture. Indeed, metastatic melanoma has a poor prognosis, representing about 90% of skin cancer mortality. Approximately half of metastatic melanomas harbor a mutation in the BRAF gene, with V600E being the most prominent driver. Targeted approaches (combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors) and immune checkpoint inhibitors have achieved unprecedent outcomes in advanced or metastatic melanoma patients harbouring the BRAF mutation. It is documented that the use of targeted therapy with immunotherapy, either in sequence or in combination, leads to additional improvements in the overall survival for melanoma patients. However, it remains a significant number of metastatic or advanced melanoma patients which is unresponsive to the current regimes, show adverse effects, or develop drug-resistance and eventually succumb to their disease. Hence, metastatic melanoma is still an unmet medical challenge. In this project, we address the need for safe regimes to arrest metastasis and drug resistance by looking into the therapeutic potentials of animal toxins with the prospect of identifying novel agent candidates against melanoma of BRAF (V600E) mutation.

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Healthy life span

Senolytic compounds derived from animal-venoms

Senescent cells lack the capacity to proliferate—a phenomenon known as cellular senescence and accumulate in somatic tissues during aging and aging-related chronic diseases, contributing to tissue damage and functional organ deterioration. Senescent cells also exacerbate the severity of aging-related diseases. One such example is obesity, a multifactorial condition accompanied by an enormous socioeconomic cost and health impact. Senolytics— cytotoxic compounds for senescent cells— constitute a promising therapeutic with potential to alleviate the socioeconomic costs and improve the healthspan during aging. However, the clinical application of senolytics is currently hampered by the poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving senescent cell accumulation during aging, the paucity of known senolytic compounds, and off-target deleterious effects on other cell populations. This project aims to identify and dissect the senolytic profile of animal venom-derived compounds and characterize their mode of action. Our candidates are validated in a large battery of cultured senescent cells and mouse models of aging and diabetes. We anticipate that the outcomes of this project will contribute to a healthier lifespan.

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Translational Venomics Lab

Innovative Scientific Research Laboratory

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We welcome the interest of potential Higher Degrees Students, Academics, and Industry for Collaboration & Partnership.

Cantoblanco 8, 28049 Madrid, Spain

+34917278100

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