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Spanish Hospitals Launch Network to Advance Brain Metastasis Treatment

NEW YORK – The Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) on Tuesday announced that researchers at a newly launched network of hospitals dubbed RENACER will focus on improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer metastases to the brain.

RENACER — an acronym for the National Brain Metastases Network in Spanish — currently comprises 11 hospitals across Spain. Clinicians at each hospital will, with their patients' consent, collect tissue samples during surgery. Should these samples be deemed surplus, they will then be sent to the CNIO biobank, where they will be accessible to the full network and community of researchers.

The samples will be molecularly analyzed for use in basic research and clinical studies for the treatment of brain metastases. Within these various efforts, researchers will investigate the central questions of how some cancer cells manage to overcome the brain's defensive barriers, and how they can be blocked from doing so. Up to 30 percent of all cancer patients, especially those with breast, lung, and skin cancers, see their disease spread to the brain.

"We will work towards the development of therapies specifically aimed at treating brain metastases, to make progress in the comprehensive and inclusive treatment of cancer," Manuel Valiente, the head of CNIO's Brain Metastasis Group and director of RENACER, said in a statement. "We will characterize patient samples molecularly and see if the results can be translated into pharmacological assays."

The network, which evolved from CNIO's Brain Metastases Group and biobank, has received three years of funding from the Carlos III Institute of Health, Spain's public research institute with which the CNIO is affiliated.

Notably, the hospitals within RENACER have also committed to including patients' perspectives in the research they will conduct through "patient and public involvement."