Liver Diseases

Responsable de Grupo: Jesús María Bañales, Ph.D.

Biodonostia HRI. Ikerbasque Research Fellow. jesus.banales@biodonostia.org
Dr. Jesus Bañales Asurmendi is Doctor in Biochemistry (2006); he is Leader of the Liver Diseases Group at the Biodonostia HRI under the titles of Ikerbasque Research Professor and Miguel Servet II Researcher, and at the CIBERehd (Centre for Biomedical Research in Liver and Digestive Diseases). Dr. Bañales is also a Full University Professor accredited by ANECA, Associate Professor of Medicine/Science at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, USA), at the University of Navarra (Pamplona) and at the Universidad Área Andina (Bogotá, Colombia). He has directed 14 doctoral theses and 9 final master’s degree projects (TFMs), and is the Principal Researcher of more than 40 projects funded by national and international bodies (ISCIII, EU H2020, LaCaixa, AECC, etc.).
Dr. Bañales has published more than 152 scientific articles in high-impact journals, is Member of the Editorial Committee or Associate Editor of scientific journals (nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, J Hepatol, Hepatology, Liver Transplantation, Cells), co-inventor of 5 patents, and has received several national and international awards for his scientific career (EASL, UEG, AECC, among others).

Strategic Objectives

The liver is the largest organ in the human body, and one of the most important organs at a physiopathological level. It is made up of two types of epithelial cells: hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. Hepatocytes represent 70-80% of the total mass of the liver, and they play a part in fundamental physiological processes, such as drug detoxification, the synthesis of cholesterol and bile salts, and the generation of primary bile. Cholangiocytes are the cells that make up the bile ducts and they modulate the composition and flow of the bile generated in the canaliculi of the hepatocytes. Although the cholangiocytes only represent 3-5% of the total population of cells in the liver, they participate in the generation of up to 30% of the total bile flow, inducing its alkalinisation and fluidification.

The liver can be directly or indirectly affected by a range of diseases called hepatopathies, and which represent the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. Among these hepatopathies are those of viral origin [hepatitis C (HCV) and B (HBV)], alcoholic origin (ALD), non-alcoholic fat (NAFLD), genetic (polycystic liver disease and haemochromatosis) and autoimmune (autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis). When these hepatopathies become chronic, they can lead to the development of cirrhosis and/or liver cancer, e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and/or cholangiocarcinoma (CCA).

One of the great commitments of our Research Group is to boost research inspired by patients’ needs, driving new and innovative work channels, in order to quickly and efficiently transfer the scientific advances to those channels to help prevent and cure these diseases. This is our set objective, and we have several lines of research aimed at this purpose.

Main lines of research

  • Fibrosis, Cirrhosis and Hepatocarcinoma: Chronic liver damage is a pathology that is characterised by a progressive increase in hepatic fibrosis that can lead to more advanced stages of the disease, such as cirrhosis, and ultimately, liver cancer or hepatocarcinoma. This disease, affecting millions of people around the world, has a very varied etiology (e.g. fatty diet, virus, autoimmunity, drugs, alcohol, mutations, epigenetic alterations, etc.).
    • Study both on in vitro and in vivo models of the molecular mechanisms involved in the appearance and development of chronic liver damage, and the search for new therapeutic tools for their prevention and/or treatment.
    • Clinical studies to improve the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
    • Assessment of different non-invasive tests as methods for diagnosing and monitoring hepatic fibrosis (e.g. magnetic resonance).
  • Cholangiocarcinoma: Cholangiocarcinomas (CCAs) are tumours that originate in the bile duct. Their incidence is rising around the world and their therapeutic options are very limited due to their late diagnosis and high chemoresistance. The etiology of CCA is unknown. However, chronic biliary inflammation and high levels of bile acids appear to play a key role in the development of this cancer.
    • Study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the appearance and development of this type of tumour, as well as in the clarification of the causes of its high level of chemoresistance.
    • Search for new therapeutic strategies.
  • Alcoholic hepatopathy: It is estimated that between 2% and 16% of the Spanish population are excessive consumers of alcohol, which is responsible for approximately 12,000 deaths in Spain every year, representing 4.5% of total mortality. Biological, cultural, social and genetic factors have been described that predispose a person to the development of alcoholism or to the risk of consuming excessive alcohol.
    • Studies for the line of genetic polymorphisms and environmental factors associated with excessive alcohol consumption, which would enable their incidence to be prevented.
  •  Non-alcoholic steatosis: It is also known as fatty liver disease, and is characterised by the intrahepatocytic accumulation of fatty acids, which can lead to more aggressive pathological conditions, such as steatohepatitis and/or hepatocarcinoma. Its prevalence in developed countries ranges between 3% and 24% of the population. Among the factors that encourage its development are obesity and diabetes.
    • Determination of the molecular mechanisms involved in the appearance and development of this pathology, using in vitro and in vivo models, as well as the search for new therapies for its treatment.
    • Development of new non-invasive methods for the quantification of intrahepatic fat in patients (e.g. magnetic resonance), which enables a better diagnosis and monitoring of the disease.
  •  Iron overload: Hereditary haemochromatosis is the most common form of iron overload. Its diagnosis has improved since Feder et al. isolated the HFE gene in 1996 and discovered the mutations related to the disease. However, many patients have proved to have negative genetic studies, and consequently require diagnostic confirmation by quantifying the concentration of iron in their liver (LIC), which has traditionally been accomplished by liver biopsy.
    • Development and assessment of the validity of non-invasive techniques (magnetic resonance) to diagnose iron overload and monitor its treatment.
    • Study of new genes associated with iron overload.

Team Members

Name Surname Center E-mail
Aloña Agirre Lizaso IIS Biodonostia alona.agirre@biodonostia.org
Ignacio Aguirre Allende OSI Donostialdea ignacio.aguirreallende@osakidetza.eus
Edurne Almandoz Cortajarena IIS Biodonostia edurne.almandozcortajarena@osakidetza.org
Jose María Alustiza Echeberria OSATEK jmalustiza@osatek.es
Juan Ignacio Arenas Ruíz Tapiador OSI Donostialdea juanignacio.arenasruiztapiador@osakidetza.eus
Adolfo Beguiristain Gómez OSI Donostialdea adolfo.beguiristaingomez@osakidetza.eus
Javier Caballero Camino IIS Biodonostia
Agustin Castiella Eguzkiza OSI Bajo Deba agustin.castiellaeguzkiza@osakidetza.eus
Nuno André Da Silva Paiva
Mª Dolores De Juan Echavarri OSI Donostialdea mdolores.dejuanechavarri@osakidetza.eus
Anne Echebarria Estébanez IIS Biodonostia anne.echebarria@biodonostia.org
Lander Gallego Otaegui OSI Donostialdea
Raúl Jiménez Agüero OSI Donostialdea raul.jimenezaguero@osakidetza.eus
Adelaida Lacasta Muñoa OSI Donostialdea adelaida.lacastamunoa@osakidetza.eus
Ana Landa Magdalena OSI Donostialdea ana.landamagdalena@osakidetza.eus
Ainhoa Lapitz Dambolenea IIS Biodonostia ainhoa.lapitz@biodonostia.org
Enara Markaide García IIS Biodonostia enara.markaide@biodonostia.org
Irene Olaizola Rebe IIS Biodonostia irene.olaizola@biodonostia.org
Paula Olaizola Rebe IIS Biodonostia paula.olaizola@biodonostia.org
Tania Pastor Bonel OSI Donostialdea tania.pastorbonel@osakidetza.eus
Maria Jesús Perugorria Montiel UPV-EHU matxus.perugorria@biodonostia.org
Ioana Riaño Fernandez OSI Donostialdea ioana.rianofernandez@osakidetza.eus
Pedro Miguel Rodrigues IIS Biodonostia pedro.rodrigues@biodonostia.org
Inmaculada Ruíz Montesinos OSI Donostialdea
María Emma Salvador Pardo OSATEK
Eva Zapata Morcillo OSI Debabarrena

Scientific Output

PAPEL DEL FACTOR DE TRANSCRIPCION SOX17 EN LA ETIOPATOGENIA DEL CANCER BILIAR: NUEVA ESTRATEGIA DIAGNOSTICA, PRONOSTICA Y TERAPEUTICA
Código: PI15/01132
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: ISCIII INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III
Fecha de Inicio: 2016-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-11-30
Importe Concedido: 231.715,00 €
CONSTRUCCION Y VALIDACION DE UN FANTOMA QUE REPRODUZCA EL COMPORTAMIENTO DEL HIGADO CON DIFERENTES CONCENTRACIONES DE HIERRO
Código: 2015111033
Investigador Principal (IP): JOSE MARIA ALUSTIZA ECHEBERRIA
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2015-12-15
Fecha de finalización: 2020-02-04
Importe Concedido: 59.335,36 €
BUSQUEDA DE NUEVAS TERAPIAS CONTRA EL CANCER HEPATICO MAS ALLA DE LOS GENES
Código: BIO15/CA/016/BD
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: EITB MEDIA, SAU
Fecha de Inicio: 2016-06-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-11-30
Importe Concedido: 39.160,00 €
EUROPEAN REGISTRY DATA COLLECTION ON CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA
Código: UE/2016/EASL
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF THE LIVER
Fecha de Inicio: 2016-06-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-04-01
Importe Concedido: 80.000,00 €
ESTUDIO MULTICISCIPLINAR DEL COLANGIOCARCINOMA DIAGNOSTICO PATOGENIA Y NUEVAS TERAPIAS
Código: AECC17/302
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: ASOCIACION ESPAÑOLA CONTRA EL CANCER
Fecha de Inicio: 2017-11-30
Fecha de finalización: 2021-04-30
Importe Concedido: 300.000,00 €
LIVER INVESTIGATION TESTING MARKER UTILITY IN STEATOHEPATITIS LITMUS
Código: UE/2016/IMI2/LITMUS
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: COMISION EUROPEA - HORIZON 2020
Fecha de Inicio: 2017-11-01
Fecha de finalización: 2022-10-31
Importe Concedido: 0,00 €
PAPEL DEL RECEPTOR ANTI-INFLAMATORIO TREM-2 EN LA ETIOPATOGENIA DE LOS CANCERES HEPATOBILIARES: NUEVA ESTRATEGIA DIAGNOSTICA PRONOSTICA Y TERAPEUTICA
Código: PI17/00022
Investigador Principal (IP): MARIA JESUS PERUGORRIA MONTIEL
Entidad Financiadora: ISCIII INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III
Fecha de Inicio: 2018-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-12-31
Importe Concedido: 135.520,00 €
PLATAFORMA DE UNIDADES DE INVESTIGACIÓN Y ENSAYOS CLÍNICOS
Código: PT17/0017/0040
Investigador Principal (IP): IOANA RIAÑO FERNANDEZ
Entidad Financiadora: ISCIII INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III
Fecha de Inicio: 2018-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-12-31
Importe Concedido: 134.750,00 €
VALIDACION INTERNACIONAL DE NUEVOS BIOMARCADORES NO INVASIVOS PARA EL DIAGNOSTICO DEL CANCER BILIAR
Código: 2017111010
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2017-12-21
Fecha de finalización: 2021-01-17
Importe Concedido: 62.047,22 €
PAPEL DEL FACTOR DE TRANSCRIPCION KLF5 EN LA ETIOPATOGENIA DEL CANCER BILIAR:NUEVA ESTRATEGIA DIAGNOSTICA PRONOSTICA Y TERAPEUTICA
Código: PI18/01075
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: ISCIII INSTITUTO DE SALUD CARLOS III
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2021-12-31
Importe Concedido: 244.420,00 €
EXOSOMAL FAT-LIVER AXIS IN NON-ALCOHOL FATTY LIVER DISEASE:FUNCTION AND TARGETING
Código: HR17-00601
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: FUNDACION LA CAIXA
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-09-15
Fecha de finalización: 2022-09-14
Importe Concedido: 48.888,89 €
VALIDACION INTERNACIONAL DE NUEVOS BIOMARCADORES NO INVASIVOS PARA EL DIAGNOSTICO DEL CANCER BILIAR
Código: AEGTAMARITE18/001
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: ASOCIACION ESPAÑOLA DE GASTROENTEROLOGIA
Fecha de Inicio: 2018-04-02
Fecha de finalización: 2021-04-01
Importe Concedido: 10.000,00 €
PAPEL DEL RECEPTOR SCAVENGER MARCO EN LA INMUNO ONCOLOGIA DEL CANCER DE HIGADO NUEVA ESTRATEGIA DIAGNOSTICA PRONOSTICA Y TERAPEUTICA
Código: 2019111024
Investigador Principal (IP): MARIA JESUS PERUGORRIA MONTIEL
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-11-30
Fecha de finalización: 2022-12-31
Importe Concedido: 89.753,00 €
PREVENCIÓN DE LA INFECCIÓN DEL SITIO QUIRÚRGICO SUPERFICIAL EN PACIENTES SOMETIDOS A CIRUGÍA HEPATOBILIAR Y PANCREÁTICA ELECTIVA
Código: 20BU208
Investigador Principal (IP): RAUL JIMENEZ AGÜERO
Entidad Financiadora: OSI DONOSTIALDEA
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-09-01
Fecha de finalización: 2021-09-30
Importe Concedido: 9.175,00 €
ROLE OF THE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR KLF5 IN THE ETIOPATHOGENESIS OF CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA: NEW DIAGNOSTIC, PROGNOSTIC AND THERAPEUTIC STRATEGY
Código: UE/2019/AMMF/001
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: AMMF THE CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA CHARITY
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-09-01
Fecha de finalización: 2021-09-01
Importe Concedido: 37.500,00 €
METABOLOMIC-BASED PREDICTION OF PROGNOSIS IN PATIENTS WITH PRIMARY SCLEROSING CHOLANGITIS AND EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA: NEW NON-INVASIVE STRATEGY
Código: INT/2019/PSCPARTNERS/001
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: PSC PARTNER SEEKING A CURE
Fecha de Inicio: 2019-06-10
Fecha de finalización: 2021-06-10
Importe Concedido: 52.833,09 €
ENFERMEDADES CARDIOMETABOLICAS: DESARROLLO DE ESTRATEGIAS DIAGNOSTICAS Y TERAPEUTICAS PERSONALIZADAS COMBINANDO FACTORES DE RIESGO Y CARACTERIZACION MOLECULAR
Código: 2020111077/BD
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2020-12-01
Fecha de finalización: 2023-12-31
Importe Concedido: 49.126,00 €
DISEÑO, SINTESIS Y VALIDACION DE NUEVOS AGENTES QUIMIOTERAPICOS FRENTE A CANCERES RESISTENTES AL CISPLATINO: NUEVA ESTRATEGIA TERAPEUTICA PARA EL COLANGIOCARCIONOMA
Código: 2020333010
Investigador Principal (IP): JESUS MARIA BAÑALES ASURMENDI
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2020-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2020-12-31
Importe Concedido: 54.583,10 €
PAPEL DEL FACTOR DE TRANSCRIPCION KLF15 EN LA ETIOPATOGENIA DEL CANCER BILIAR: NUEVA ESTRATEGIA DIAGNOSTICA, PRONOSTICA Y TERAPEUTICA
Código: 2020-CIEN-000067-01
Investigador Principal (IP): PEDRO MIGUEL RODRIGUES VIEIRA
Entidad Financiadora: DIPUTACION FORAL GIPUZKOA
Fecha de Inicio: 2020-07-09
Fecha de finalización: 2021-09-30
Importe Concedido: 80.718,00 €