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10,000 euros for research into new nanomedicines against childhood neuroblastoma

The initiative "El challenge de Pablo" has raised funds to finance a project of the University on one of the most aggressive tumors and the most frequent in the first two years of life.

/María Blanco

27 | 10 | 2022

To develop new nanomedicines to tackle high-risk neuroblastoma, one of the most frequently diagnosed tumors in children and with a high mortality rate. This is the goal of a project of research of the University of Navarra that has received a donation of 10,000 euros for this course, coming from "El challenge de Pablo". This initiative was created by the parents of Pablo, a 2-year-old boy diagnosed with neuroblastoma, to fight against childhood cancer by raising funds for research. In this edition, Pablo's father, José Luis López, has cycled more than 1,000 kilometers with this goal.

The project of the University of Navarra will explore an alternative to conventional chemotherapy that will increase the efficacy of the treatment, as well as reduce toxicity, which will in turn improve the quality of life of children. "Most of the current chemotherapeutic protocols for childhood cancers generate a problem mainly linked to high toxicity and an incorrect extrapolation of the doses used in adults," explains Dr. María Blanco Prieto, professor of School of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Navarra, expert in nanomedicine and bioengineering, and manager of project. 

This new project aims to obtain new therapeutic nanosystems that can be administered orally and allow effective therapy against neuroblastoma, as well as the inhibition of possible metastasis. One of the most important advantages of the use of nanomedicines, according to Dr. Blanco, is based on their capacity to improve the therapeutic index of current treatments. "This translates, precisely, into an increase in their efficacy, as well as a decrease in toxicity, which would improve existing therapies, the quality of life of patients, and make nanomedicines a solid alternative to conventional chemotherapy, as is reflected in nanomedicines already on the market". 

An opportunity for other "Pablos".

In 2017 "El challenge de Pablo" was born, when Pablo had just been diagnosed with this subject tumor that affects the peripheral nervous system. Faced with a probability of cure that at 5 years only reached 30%, his family put the focus on the need to raise funds for the 8 programs of study and clinical trials that exist in Spain on this ailment classified as a rare disease, status which makes it difficult to raise economic contributions for its research.

The epicenter of this solidarity initiative is a cycling challenge that led José Luis López Cabezuelo, Pablo's father and mountain bike enthusiast, to travel in 2017 the 651 km that separate the hospital Sant Joan de Deu (Barcelona), where Pablo received part of the treatment, from Albacete, the city where the family lives. A route that had been done so many times by the family and that was the germ for the second edition, held a year later between Seville and Albacete, with 679 kilometers completed in 60 hours. Since then, in addition to the kilometers covered, more than 120,000 euros have been donated to research to give a chance to the other "Pablos" in Spain, where every day 4 children are diagnosed with cancer. On this occasion, during four days, he has traveled in modality BTT Non-Stop about 1,100 kilometers between the Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon and Castilla-La Mancha.