Laura Soucek

Vall d'Hebron Institut d'Oncologia

Life & Medical Sciences

Laura Soucek graduated in 1996 in Biological Sciences at University La Sapienza in Rome, Italy. She obtained her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the National Research Center, in Rome. In 2001 she joined University of California San Francisco, initially as postdoctoral fellow and later, in 2006 as Assistant Researcher. There she published in some of the most prestigious international journals. Since early 2011, Dr. Soucek heads the Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), in Barcelona. She received prestigious awards and grants from AACR, the Miguel Servet Program, the FERO Foundation, the Association for International Cancer Research, the European Research Council, FIS and BBVA. In October 2014 she was appointed ICREA Research Professor. In December 2014 she founded a spin-off company, Peptomyc S.L.. In April 2015, she became Associate Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 

Research interests

Our focus is the Myc oncoprotein, whose deregulation is implicated in almost all human cancer types. We have designed a Myc dominant negative, Omomyc, to investigate the therapeutic benefit of inhibiting Myc in cancer. We demonstrated that Myc inhibition has a remarkable therapeutic index in many mouse models of cancer, while only causing mild and reversible side effects in normal tissues. We also showed that Myc is a safe pharmacological target for many, perhaps all, cancers. Our goal is now to push such a therapeutic approach further towards the clinic. To do so we are making use of a new generation of Myc inhibitory Cell-Penetrating Peptides (CPPs) and nanoparticle technologies. These innovative treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.

Selected publications

- Beaulieu ME*, Jauset T, Massό-Vallés D, Soucek L*, & Whitfield JR 2017, 'Mouse models in personalized cancer medicine' in Cancer Genetics and Genomics for Personalized Medicine’; Published by Pan Stanford Publishing Ltd.

- Annette T. Byrne, Denis G. Alférez,..., & Livio Trusolino 2017, 'Interrogating open issues in cancer precision medicine using Patient-Derived Xenograft Models',  Nature Reviews Cancer (4):254-268. 

- Whitfield JR, Beaulieu ME & Soucek L 2017, 'Strategies to Inhibit Myc and Their Clinical Applicability', Front Cell Dev Biol. 5:10. 

- Maltais L, Montagne M, Bédard M, Tremblay C, Soucek L & Lavigne P 2017, 'Biophysical Characterization of the b-HLH-LZ of ΔMax, an Alternatively Spliced Isoform of Max Found in Tumor Cells: Towards the Validation of a Tumor Suppressor Role for the Max Homodimer', PLoS One. 12, 3, E0174413.

- Pedersen K, Bilal F, Bernadó Morales C, Salcedo MT, Macarulla T, Massó-Vallés D, Mohan V, Vivancos A, Carreras MJ, Serres X, Abu-Suboh M, Balsells J, Allende E, Sagi I, Soucek L, Tabernero J, Arribas J 2017, Pancreatic cancer heterogeneity and response to Mek inhibitionOncogene. 36, 40, 5639 - 5647.

- Dang CV, Reddy EP, Shokat KM & Soucek L 2017, 'Drugging the ‘undruggable’ cancer targets', Nature Review Cancer, 17, 8, 502 - 508.

Selected research activities

  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board Meeting of Breast Cancer Now, UK’s largest breast cancer research charity.
  • Member of the 2017-2018 AACR Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Fellowships Scientific Review Committee.
  • Member of the 2017-2018 of the  Scientific Review Committee for the  “Anna Tramontano” research projects of Sapienza Università di Roma.