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 supposed to be tested in clinical trials in 2021. These innovative treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.

Selected publications

– Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Toni Jauset, Daniel Massó-Vallés, Sandra Martínez-Martín, Peter Rahl, Loïka Maltais, Mariano F. Zacarias-Fluck, Sílvia Casacuberta-Serra, Erika Serrano del Pozo, Christopher Fiore, Laia Foradada, Virginia Castillo Cano, Matthew Guenther, Eduardo Romero Sanz, Marta Oteo, Cynthia Tremblay, Génesis Martín, Danny Letourneau, Martin Montagne, Miguel Ángel Morcillo Alonso, Jonathan R. Whitfield, Pierre Lavigne and Laura Soucek 2019. ‘Intrinsic cell-penetrating activity propels Omomyc from proof of concept to viable anti-Myc therapy.’ Sci Transl Med. 11, 484, eaar5012.

– Irina Alimova, Angela Pierce, Etienne Danis, Andrew Donson, Diane K. Birks, Andrea Griesinger, Nicholas K. Foreman, Mariarita Santi, Laura Soucek, Sujatha Venkataraman and Rajeev Vibhakar 2019, ‘Inhibition of MYC attenuates tumor cell self-renewal and promotes senescence in SMARCB1-deficient Group 2 atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors to suppress tumor growth in vivo’, International Journal Of Cancer, 144, 8, 1983 – 1995.

– Jonathan R. Whitfield and Laura Soucek. ‘Editorial Overview: Peptides in Cancer‘. Current Opinion in Pharmacology. 47, pp III – V.

– Mireia Pesarrodona, Toni Jauset, Zamira V. Díaz-Riascos, Alejandro Sánchez-Chardi, Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Joaquin Seras-Franzoso, Laura Sánchez-García, Ricardo Baltà-Foix, Sandra Mancilla, Yolanda Fernández, Ursula Rinas, Simó Schwartz Jr, Laura Soucek, Antonio Villaverde, Ibane Abasolo and Esther Vázquez. 2019 “Targeting antitumoral proteins to breast cancer by local administration of functional inclusion bodies“. Advanced Sciences.  24;6(18):1900849.

– Marie-Eve Beaulieu and Laura Soucek 2019, ‘Finding MYCure’, Molecular & Cellular Oncology, 6, 5, e1618178.