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Althia and Quirón Hospital start up single-dose image-guided radiotherapy treatment

This Catalan biomedical firm increased capital by €3 millions, with investment from Inveready and Reiman Inversiones, in order to boost their R&D area in oncology.

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By Biocat

Barcelona-based biotechnology company Althia has participated in the development of cutting-edge radiotherapy technology for Quirón University Hosptial Madrid, which will be made available to patients in 2013. This new equipment will allow for hypofractionated and single-dose image-guided (SD-IGRT) treatments, boosting the therapy’s efficacy and safety, tumor cure rates, and patient quality of life. In 2011, the Quirón group and USP Hospitales —which have recently merged— registered roughly 40,000 oncology treatments.

Doing a computed tomography while administering oncology treatment, according to Dr. Elia del Cerro, head of Radiation Oncology at Quirón University Hospital Madrid, "helps us know the status of the structures inside the body at all times, adapting radiation administered to any variation or movement in the patient or their internal organs. With this technology, radiation cycles that currently last 20 to 40 minutes can be done in three to five minutes."

The Althia medical team, led by Dr. Zvi Fuchs, has experience with SD-IGRT technology in patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the University of Pisa and the Champalimaud Cancer Foundation of Lisbon. “We have achieved high success rates, even up to 80%, in tumors that are highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, like kidney cancer. This therapeutic option is particularly suited to such patients, as it is non-invasive and has hardly any side effects,” explained Zvi Fuchs.

Althia has created a collaboration network with top-notch academic institutions, including the Quirón Hospital group, in order to share knowledge and foster international multicenter research.

Althia boosts R&D, hiring Augusto Silva

This Catalan biomedical firm has brought Dr. Augusto Silva González into its scientific team as the new director of R&D. He will mainly be in charge of new strategic lines for translational cancer research. Dr. Silva previously worked as general manager of Advanced Therapies and Transplants for the Ministry of Health and Social Policy, director of the Celgene Institute of Translational Research Europe, researcher and deputy director of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Center for Biological Research and deputy general manager of the Carlos III Institute of Health. He was also secretary of the Spanish Immunology Society and a member of the CSIC ethics and bioethics committees.

His research in the field of immunology has focused on regulation of the interleuIL2 receptor and immune response in periodontal disease. In cancer, he has studied the role of the p53 protein in regulating cell death in breast tumors, and in cell therapy he has studied new markers for somatic stem cells, as well as their role in cancer.

The new director of R&D at Althia has published 85 international articles, led 28 research projects and promoted two patents.

Dr. Silva, former deputy director of the CSIC and the Carlos III Institute, now takes on the role of director of R&D at Althia.

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