FSB Laboratory CNIO

María A. Blasco, Director of CNIO

The Seve Ballesteros Foundation has an international presence operating both in the United Kingdom and Spain. In the UK, it has worked together with Cancer Research UK, the largest charity dedicated to fighting cancer through research.  In Spain, the Seve Ballesteros Foundation supports the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) by way of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation Laboratory. Since it started in 2011, the Foundation has supported financially this research with 800.000 euros.


The Seve Ballesteros Foundation Laboratory-CNIO focuses its efforts in developing a wider knowledge of the different types of cancer that might affect the central nervous system. Achieving a better understanding of the events leading to cancer development and discovering molecular mechanisms could provide a basis for novel therapies. Thus, the new lab focuses it’s work on:

– Discovering molecular mechanisms related to the birth or growth of tumours in the central nervous system.

– Identification of markers orientated to a better and more efficient tumour diagnosis and outlook in the central nervous system.

– Development of new drugs based on specific targets.

– Implementation of pharmacological and biomarker studies that have an effective clinical application in early stages with new drugs.

– Development of clinical research in early stages with new drugs.

– Collaboration and interaction between basic and clinical research to obtain therapeutic progress in this kind of tumours and develop training programmes.

– The researchers approach to patients and the homogenisation of the origin of the tumour samples.

– The search and assessment of new technologies that will enable early detection of this kind of tumours and treatment once detected.

– Improvements in the patient selection that will benefit from this therapy, search for new toxic drugs and adapting the different drug combinations to genetic and protein features of each tumour in order to increase survival rates.

This project has incorporated Dr. Massimo Squatrito from the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Institute in New York, one of the most prestigious cancer centres in the world. The Group studies how brain tumours, mainly glioblastomas and medulloblastomas, develop and how they respond to therapy.

Malignant brain tumors represent about 3% of the known cancers and every year about 100,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide. Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary central nervous system tumour in the adults. A decade of studies has underlined the complexity of the glioma genome, however, the functional significance of the vast majority of the genetic alterations remains elusive.

The Seve Ballesteros Foundation-CNIO Brain Tumor Group, headed by Massimo Squatrito, in collaboration with the laboratory of Ingo Mellinghoff at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (MSKCC), has uncovered a novel mechanism that contributes to prevent glioblastoma development.  

Massimo Squatrito, FSB-CNIO program update (2018)