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Laura Soucek

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 high impact 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., where she is CEO. 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 miniproteins, which are going to be tested in clinical trials in 2021. These innovative treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.

Selected publications

– Paola Pellanda, Mattia Dalsass, Marco Filipuzzi, Alessia Loffreda, Alessandro Verrecchia, Virginia Castillo Cano, Hugo Thabussot, Mirko Doni, Marco J. Morelli, Laura Soucek, Theresia Kress, Davide Mazza, Marina Mapelli, Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Bruno Amati and Arianna Sabò 2021, ‘Integrated requirement of non-specific and sequence-specific DNA binding in MYC-driven transcription’. EMBO J., e105464.

– Mariano F. Zacarías-Fluck, Toni Jauset, Sandra Martínez-Martín, Jastrinjan Kaur, Sílvia Casacuberta-Serra, Daniel Massó-Vallés, Erika Serrano del Pozo, Génesis Martín-Fernández, Íñigo González-Larreategui, Sergio López-Estévez, Lamorna Brown-Swigart, Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Jonathan R. Whitfield, Babita Madan, David M. Virshu4, Gerard I. Evan and Laura Soucek 2021, ‘The Wnt signaling receptor Fzd9 is essential for Myc-driven tumorigenesis in pancreatic islets‘. Life Sci Alliance. 4, 5, e201900490.

ICREA Memoir 2021