History and objectives

The IUOPA was created by means of Decree 86/2000 of 14 December 2000 (published in Asturias Official Gazette no. 301 of 30 December 2000). The aim was to provide appropriate institutional support for the increasing amount of important cancer research activity being carried out in this field by various departments of the University of Oviedo achieving recognition within and outside the region. The objectives and activities proposed by those behind the Institute offered clear social benefits in terms of improving the knowledge and health technology available for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

It is a multidisciplinary initiative aimed at optimising the resources devoted to the aims set out in Article 29 of the Statutes of the University of Oviedo. The IUOPA is also intended to interact with its environment, as well as national and international science and the production network, by providing services and carrying out joint projects of interest to cancer research on a regional level.


Organisational structure

The research groups which form part of the IUOPA are located in three centres on the University of Oviedo’s El Cristo campus: the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Biochemistry and the AsturiasCentral University Hospital. The Asturias regional government is currently building a new central hospital, where the IUOPA will have its own research annex. Apart from the researchers who have their own laboratory in the aforementioned centres, clinicians (mainly from the Asturias Central Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, as well as other public hospitals) also form part of the IUOPA as associate members.

The IUOPA is made up of two areas: basic research and clinical research. Its organisational structure is as follows: Director, Deputy Director and Secretary, as well as a permanent committee (with nine members) and the Institute Board (all the IUOPA members). All its activities are supervised by an external committee chaired by Professor Julio Rodríguez Villanueva which is made up of high-level national researchers in cancer research such as Dr. Elías Campo, Dr. Eugenio Santos, Dr. Alberto Muñoz and Dr. Eduardo Díaz-Rubio.


IUOPA objectives

The IUOPA’s overall objective is to carry out quality researched focused on cancer as an important biological problem with a major impact on human health. Our aim is to strengthen the links between basic, clinical and epidemiological research in our region, enabling the results of research to be transferred from the laboratory to clinical practice and optimising the resources devoted to cancer research in Asturias. The IUOPA addresses this general objective through the development of the following interim objectives:

  • – Development of basic scientific knowledge of tumour biology and the applications resulting from it.
  • – Epidemiological research into the environmental, genetic and clinical risk factors associated with cancer aetiology in Asturias.
  • – Experimental development of the pharmacology of new molecules of therapeutic interest.

The IUOPA is also working towards:

  • – Promotion of scientific interaction between its members and scientists from other university institutes and departments of the University of Oviedo and other national and foreign universities and research centres, as well as those from public health centres.
  • – Coordination of efforts for the provision of infrastructures and management of resources so as to improve their use and performance.
  • – Improvement in the methodologies used in the different existing approaches (carcinogenesis, genotoxicity and mutagenesis, tumour expression and development, diagnostic profiles, therapeutic responses, drug resistance, epidemiology) in tumour biology through internal programmes.
  • – Coordination of cancer-related scientific and technological work in the public and private sector in order to reinforce the value of the application of cancer research.
  • – Promotion of tertiary education through a regulated programme which is run as part of the tertiary studies of the University of Oviedo.
  • – Promotion of the dissemination of scientific knowledge through university extension courses and a considered and measured dissemination of the expectations created by research and the success achieved in the field of oncology.
  • – Coordination with other oncology institutes and research centres in order to complement cancer research efforts in our country.
  • – Coordination of the continuous training of researchers at the Institute with an interdisciplinary approach and exchanges with researchers from national and international institutes.
  • – Contributing to regional, national and international public health programmes, as well as those under the auspices of non-profit organisations operating in cancer-related fields.