Awarded by the Fundación Rei Jaume I, the prize acknowledges Dr. Eduard Batlle’s career and his significant contributions to research in colon cancer and, in particular, to the study of cancer stem cells and how they facilitate the evasion of the immune system.
On Tuesday June 8, Dr. Eduard Batlle, Head of the Colorectal Cancer lab at IRB Barcelona (a BIST centre), ICREA Researcher, and Group Leader at CIBER Cancer (CIBERONC), received the Rei Jaume I Prize for Medical Research. The Rei Jaume I prizes acknowledge people who have carried out highly significant work which has mostly been undertaken in Spain. The prizes are given each year and awardees are presented with a gold medal, a diploma, and €100,000 – to be reinvested largely in research.
“It is a great honour to receive this prize,” says Dr. Batlle. “Acknowledgements like this give impetus and visibility to cutting-edge projects, contributing to the promotion of research as a differential feature of this country,” he adds.
The research at the Colorectal Cancer lab
The laboratory led by Dr. Batlle studies cancer from two perspectives, namely the evolution of cancer stem cells, and the interaction of these cells with the environment during the progression of the disease. Specifically, it seeks to reveal how these aspects facilitate the development of metastases. This group recently discovered a mechanism involved in the absence of the immune system at the centre of the tumour, which is responsible for poor response to treatments aimed at enhancing the eradication of tumours through patients’ immune systems. Blocking this mechanism can dramatically increase the success rate of these therapies in many types of cancer.
“The ultimate goal of our lab’s research at IRB Barcelona is to obtain information that allows us to design new therapeutic and diagnostic tools that can benefit patients,” says Dr. Batlle.
IRB Barcelona is a leading European research centre in cancer and metastasis, bringing about important advances in our understanding of this process and improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The multidisciplinary research performed at IRB Barcelona is done in close collaboration with the main reference hospitals in Catalonia and pharmaceutical companies.
Other Rei Jaume I prizes
This year, which marks the 33rd year of the Jaume I Prizes, the jury was comprised of outstanding figures, including, among others, the Nobel Laureates Erwin Neher, Randy Sheckman, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Jules Hoffmann, and Aaron Ciechanover. The following people also received the prize this year: Dr. Licia Verde, in the category of Basic Research; Antonio Cabrales, in Economics; Fernando Valladares, in Environmental Protection; Nuria Oliver, in New Technologies; and Benito Jiménez, the Entrepreneur prize.
Last year, Dr. Laura Lechuga from the BIST centre ICN2 and Dr. Miguel Beato from the BIST centre CRG received this prestigious prize.