Ana Banito awarded for her research on soft tissue sarcomas

Ana Banito, scientist at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the KiTZ received the Award of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities for her work on sarcomas, a group of malignant tumors which is quite common in children. The prize, donated by the Monika Kutzner Foundation and endowed with 10,000 euros, is awarded annually for special achievements that advance cancer research.

Ana Banito received the award of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW)
Ana Banito, scientist at DKFZ and the KiTZ, received the award of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) – donated by the Monika Kutzner Foundation – for her work on sarcomas. Source: Judith Affolter

The “Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg” (KiTZ) is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and Heidelberg University.

"I feel very grateful and honored to receive this prestigious award and I am happy to see research on sarcoma receiving more visibility" says Ana Banito. The 38-year-old Portuguese leads a junior group at the KiTZ. Previously, she has worked at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York at the Institute of Cancer Researcher Scott Lowe for several years.

Ana Banito is an expert in the biology of soft tissue sarcomas, tumors that can emerge from a variety of tissues of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas account for about seven percent of all childhood and adolescent cancers. They are thus the third most common solid tumors in children and adolescents. Many subspecies of soft tissue sarcomas in children and young adults are based on a common genetic mechanism. Meanwhile, a number of characteristic mutations are known in the genetics of the sarcoma cells that drive the malignant growth of cancer cells.

Banito and her research group genetically mimic these changes in order to better understand the biological processes underlying the development of the disease and to find therapeutic molecules that can stop the tumor growth. The team also explores the role of incorrect regulation of chemical modifications of the genome, the so-called epigenetic modifications, in childhood sarcomas.

The prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities – donated by the Monika Kutzner Foundation – is endowed with € 10,000. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of cancer research.

 

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