creating a
healthier future

30th Porto Cancer Meeting

9-10 May 2024 | i3S, Porto, Portugal

Abstract book >>

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the XXX Edition of the Porto Cancer Meeting. This renowned international meeting has been organized since 1990 by Ipatimup and is now a flagship meeting of i3S – Institute for Research and Innovation in Health – the largest health research institute in Portugal. This year, the scientific program of the XXX Porto Cancer Meeting will focus on RNA biology and its implications in cancer and will explore the relevance of the multiple layers of RNA regulation in cancer progression as well as the opportunities they generate for cancer treatment.

RNA biology is a burning topic in biomedicine. Once thought of as a simple messenger between DNA and protein, it is increasingly evident that the RNA molecule and its regulation are more complex than ever anticipated, playing a major role in multiple diseases, namely cancer, and enclosing new opportunities for biomarker discovery, cancer treatment and even cancer vaccines. The development of high-throughput analytical tools has significantly contributed to our understanding of the RNA code, enabling the discovery and quantification of RNA-protein interaction events at an unprecedented resolution and scale. Translating this knowledge into the clinic will now require more functional studies, the design of stable RNA-based drugs and efficient delivery technologies.

As one of the most prominent cancer research events in Portugal aiming to be at the forefront of cancer research, the objective of the XXX Edition of the Porto Cancer Meeting is to bring together researchers and clinicians to provide a multidisciplinary and informal environment to share and discuss the latest advances in the role of RNA regulation in cancer biology, and its clinical implications in diagnosis, progression, and treatment. For that, we have an outstanding panel of invited speakers, selected oral communications and a poster session, which will allow ample time for discussion among participants. The main topics will include RNA processing and regulation in cancer, non-coding RNAs and cancer, RNA-binding proteins role in cancer initiation and progression, the epitranscriptome in cancer and the RNA path to the clinic.

We hope you will enjoy a pleasant meeting and have the opportunity to visit the beautiful and vibrant city of Porto.


Organizing Committee
Raquel Almeida, i3S
Bruno Pereira, i3S

Scientific Committee
Alexandra Moreira, i3S
Bruno Pereira, i3S
Carla Oliveira, i3S
Maria Inês Almeida, i3S
Patrícia Mesquita, i3S
Raquel Almeida, i3S


9 May 2024

9:15 – 9:30 Welcome Session
Cláudio Sunkel & Raquel Almeida

SESSION 1: RNA processing and regulation in cancer
Chairs: Alexandra Moreira & Bruno Pereira

9:30 – 10:15 RNA splicing in cancer: from mis-regulation to therapeutic targets
Maria Carmo Fonseca, Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM), University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

10:15 – 10:30 Selected talk | Tobacco smoking-related cancers share common mRNA signatures
Isabel Pereira Castro
, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S)/IBMC, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

10:30 – 10:45 Selected talk | The function of the 3`- 5` exoribonuclease DIS3L2 in colorectal cancer
Luísa Romão
, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Lisboa, Portugal

10:45 – 11:15 Coffee break

SESSION 2: Non-coding RNAs and cancer
Chairs: Carla Oliveira & Patrícia Mesquita

11:15 – 12:00 Non-coding RNAs in urological cancer: biological and clinical aspects
Carmen Jerónimo, IPO-Porto / ICBAS-School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

12:00 – 12:15 Selected talk | MicroRNA to MicroRNA interactions: potential regulation by miR-21 of the miR17~92a cluster in Head & Neck squamous cell carcinoma
Sarah Stapleton
, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney, Australia

12:15 – 12:30 Selected Talk | Modulating the bone tumor microenvironment: a novel non-coding RNA-based approach to regulate osteoclasts behavior
Maria Inês Almeida
, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S)/INEB/ICBAS, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break

13:00 – 14:00 Posters session I

SESSION 3: RBPome in cancer initiation and progression
Chairs: José Bessa & Raquel Almeida

14:00 – 14:45 Loss of CPEB4 in breast cancer cells enhances lung metastasis by IL-23/IL-17 axis up-regulation and neutrophil expansion
Raúl Méndez, Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Barcelona, Spain

14:45 – 15:30 Alterations in the RNA-binding protein landscape are required for efficient growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma
Anne Willis
, MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

15:30 – 15:45 Selected talk | Intestinal stem cell marker MEX3A acts as a PPARy direct regulator with functional impact in colorectal carcinogenesis
Ana Rita Silva
, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S), Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

15:45 – 16:15 Coffee break

SESSION 4: Translational control in cancer
Chairs: Bruno Pereira & Isabel Castro

16:15 – 17:00 Investigating the role of mRNA translation in cancer persister cell mutability
Lucilla Fabbri
, Institut Curie, Orsay, France

17:00 – 17:15 Selected Talk | eIF2A regulates cell migration without overtly affecting translation
Jennifer Jungfleisch
, Centro de Regulación Genómica (CRG), Barcelona, Spain

20:00 Meeting Dinner


10 May 2024

SESSION 5: RNA path to the clinic I
Chairs: Carmen Jerónimo & Maria Inês Almeida

9:15 – 10:00 Identifying global protein biomarkers in biofluids by NGS based profiling of RNA aptamer libraries
Jørgen Kjems
, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

10:00 – 10:15 Selected talk | MicroRNA profiles and their clinical value for precancerous and cancerous colorectal lesions identification: a preliminary study
Daniela Alexandra Rocha Santos
, Centro de Investigação do Instituto Português de Oncologia do Porto (CI-IPOP), Porto, Portugal

10:15 – 11:00 Targeting RNA modifications to eradicate cancer stem cells in acute myeloid leukaemia
Kamil Kranc
, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break

Chair: Cláudio Sunkel

11:30 – 12:30 Targeting the mRNA 5’cap-binding protein, eIF4E, for cancer therapy
Nahum Sonenberg
, Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break

13:00 – 14:00 Posters session II

SESSION 6: RNA path to the clinic II
Chairs: José Carlos Machado & Luísa Pereira

14:00 – 14:45  Pancreatic Cancer – Exceptional Survivors to RNA Vaccines
Vinod Balachandran
, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA

14:45 – 15:00 Selected talk | Pharmacologic inhibition of nonsense-mediated decay induces anti-tumour immunogenicity in ex vivo patient tumours
Roberto Vendramin
, University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute & The Francis Crick Institute, London, United Kingdom

15:00 – 15:15 Selected talk | Deciphering the molecular landscape of diffuse gastric cancers in truncating CTNNA1 germline variant carrier patients
Silvana Lobo
, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S), Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

15:15 – 16:00 Targeting RNA modifications in cancer
Michaela Frye
, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

16:00 – 16:20 Closing session


Anne Willis, MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Professor Anne Willis graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent and obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London while working in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratories (now CRUK) on DNA repair with Dr Tomas Lindahl. She then moved to Cambridge to work with Professor Richard Perham in the Department of Biochemistry, where she also held a Junior Research Fellowship and then a College Lectureship at Churchill College Cambridge.
Anne was appointed to a lectureship in Biochemistry at University of Leicester in 1992 progressing to Professor in 2004; from 2000-2005 Anne she also held a BBSRC Advanced Fellowship. In 2004, Anne was appointed Director of Cancer Research Nottingham and Chair of Cancer Cell Biology and from 2008-2013 held a BBSRC Professorial Fellowship.
In 2010 Anne became Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, which is now part of the University of Cambridge. Anne’s research in the Unit is directed towards understanding the role of post-transcriptional control in response to toxic injury with a focus on RNA-binding proteins, regulatory RNA motifs and therapeutic RNAs.
In 2015 Anne was appointed as member of EMBO, was awarded an OBE for services to biomedical sciences and supporting the careers of women in science in 2017, and appointed Fellow of the British Toxicology Society in 2018.


Carmen Jerónimo, Portuguese Oncology Institute of Porto (IPO Porto) Research Center (CI-IPOP), Porto, Portugal

Carmen Jerónimo earned her BSc in Biology (1994), MSc in Oncology (1998), PhD in Biomedical Sciences (2001), and Aggregation in Pathology and Molecular Genetics (2011) from the University of Porto. Her PhD project, focusing on genetic and epigenetic alterations in prostate cancer, was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
From 2002 to 2007, she served as a Post-doctoral Fellow and Invited Researcher at IPO Porto in collaboration with JHU. In 2008, she established her independent group at IPO Porto, dedicated to Cancer Biology and Epigenetics. Currently, she directs the IPO Porto Research Center, holds the position of Scientific Coordinator of the institutional Biobank, and serves as a Guest Full Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Genetics. She is also the Director of the Master Course in Oncology at the University of Porto.
Beyond her academic roles, Prof. Jeronimo is actively involved in international and national scientific committees, holding positions such as Section Editor of Clinical Epigenetics journal, President of the Section of Urological Research (ESUR) of the European Association of Urology (EAU), and Vice-President of the Portuguese Cancer Research Association (ASPIC).
Her research focuses on unraveling the epigenome and epitranscriptome of tumor cells, aiming to identify functional changes associated with disruptions in cell epigenetic and epitranscriptome homeostasis. In the field of Precision Medicine, Prof. Jeronimo contributes to developing novel cancer epigenetic/epitranscriptomic biomarkers through liquid biopsies and actively participates in drug discovery targeting the modulation of epigenetic/epitranscriptomic aberrations. With extensive experience in cancer epigenetics, she has collaborated with national and international partners, resulting in several research outputs, including 250 international scientific publications, one book, eleven book chapters, and several review articles, showcasing her Scientific contributions with an H-index of 55 (Web of Science 12/2023).


Jørgen Kjems, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Jørgen Kjems studied chemistry and physics at Aarhus University from where he received his PhD degree in field of RNA in 1989. After being a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA 1989-1990 and at MIT, Cambridge, USA 1990-1991 he returned to Department for Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus where he became associated professor in 1994. In 2003 he was appointed as full professor in Nanoscience and was co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO), a truly interdisciplinary, physically assembled entity at University of Aarhus with active participation of more than 300 scientists, which he headed in the period of 2014-2018. Since 2017 he has headed the Centre of Excellence for Cellular Signal Patterns, CellPAT. He has published more than 400 international research papers (H-index of 94). His research is centered around the role of non-coding RNA in disease, as biomarkers and RNA Therapeutics.


Kamil R. Kranc, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK

Professor Kamil R Kranc is the Chair of Haemato-Oncology and Director of the Centre for In Vivo Modelling at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. His central aim is to discover the key processes governing cancer stem cells in acute myeloid leukaemia, with the goal of selectively targeting these treatment-resistant cells, thus pioneering curative, non-toxic therapies.
Kamil graduated in medicine from the Medical University of Silesia (Poland) in 2000. He then moved to the University of Oxford to obtain a DPhil in Biochemistry in 2003, followed by postdoctoral training in immunology and stem cell biology (2003-2006), and the Beit Memorial Fellowship to establish his independent group (2007-2010). Subsequently, he took a Group Leader position at the University of Glasgow (2010-2013), followed by an appointment as Professor at the University of Edinburgh (2013-2019), and more recently at the Barts Cancer Institute in London (2018-2023) and The ICR (December 2023-Present).
For the last decade, Kamil has maintained collaborations with numerous experts in diverse research areas, including Professors Sir Peter Ratcliffe (hypoxia biology), Donal O’Carroll (RNA biology), Chris Schofield (biochemistry of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases) and Bertie Gottgens (single cell biology). Kamil’s laboratory has been funded by the Beit Memorial Fellowship for Medical Research, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Senior Fellowship, CRUK Programme Grant, as well as numerous project grants and PhD studentships from Blood Cancer UK, The Barts Charity, MRC, The Royal Society, The Wellcome, and CRUK.


Lucilla Fabbri, Institut Curie, PSL Research University, CNRS UMR3348, INSERM U1278, Orsay, France

Lucilla Fabbri obtained her MSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Bologna, Italy.
She did her PhD at the University of Nice-Côte d'Azur (France) under the supervision of Dr. Natalie Mazure in Frédéric Bost’s lab. During this time, she acquired expertise in cancer biology, particularly in understanding molecular mechanisms of renal cancer progression related to hypoxic metabolism and ciliogenesis.
Since 2020, Lucilla Fabbri joined the laboratory of Stéphan Vagner at Institut Curie (Orsay, France), as a post-doctoral researcher. There, she studies the role of mRNA translation in cancer plasticity and in acquired resistance to targeted therapy in melanoma.


Maria Carmo Fonseca, Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, Lisbon, Portugal

Maria Carmo-Fonseca is Professor at the University of Lisbon Medical School. She is a founder of the Institute of Molecular Medicine (iMM), a biomedical research institute affiliated with the University of Lisbon Medical School, where she currently serves as President. She was visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School (2011 to 2013). She is member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, the Portuguese Academy of Medicine, and Academia Europaea, and she served as President of the RNA Society (2021-2022). She has been scientific editor for the Journal of Cell Science and the RNA journal.
The Carmo-Fonseca lab combines microscopy techniques and genome-wide methodologies to study RNA splicing in health and disease.


Michaela Frye, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

I completed my PhD in Frankfurt/Main in Germany in 2000 studying the role of epithelial defensins in Cystic Fibrosis. In 2001, I joined Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) in London as a Postdoctoral Fellow, where I studied how stem cells form and maintain adult skin. In 2007, I started my independent research group at the Wellcome Trust – Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute funded by a CR-UK Career Development Fellowship. In 2013, I renewed my fellowship to CR-UK Senior Fellowship and received an ERC Consolidator Grant to study how RNA modifications regulate stem cell functions and contribute to human diseases and cancer. In 2016, I was tenured at the University in Cambridge (UK) as a Lecturer and then promoted to a Reader in Stem Cell Biology in 2017. I was elected as an EMBO member in 2018 and then left the UK to accept a full Professorship in Molecular Tumorigenesis at the DKFZ in Heidelberg Germany where my group studies mechanisms regulating gene expression regulate stem cell fate in normal tissues and cancer.


Nahum Sonenberg, School of Biomedical Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Dr. Sonenberg received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel in 1976. He joined the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, New Jersey as a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow with Aaron Shatkin. In 1979 he moved to Montreal, Canada to become a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University. Currently he is Distinguished James McGill Professor and Gilman Cheney Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and the Goodman Cancer Institute at McGill University.
Dr. Sonenberg studies the molecular basis of the control of protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells and its importance in diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and neurological diseases. He made seminal discoveries demonstrating that control of translation initiation is implicated in cancer, learning and memory, autism and fragile X-syndrome. For his research he received many awards, among them the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2014, the Prix du Québec in Biomedical Research from the Government of Quebec (Canada) in 2018. In 2023 he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He is elected member of many prestigious societies: The Royal Society of London; Associate Member of the EMBO, and International Member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Medicine, USA.


Raúl Mendez, Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona, Spain

ICREA research professor, EMBO member, Head of Translational Control of Cell Cycle and Differentiation lab and vice-director (since 2018) at IRB. Carmen y Severo Ochoa Award (2010), City of Barcelona Award (2008), Leukemia Society of America Special Fellow Award (1998-2001). Coordinator BFS-ANEP (National agency eval and prospective) 2012-2015. Accumulated 67 publications, 5587 citations and h-index=37 (Scopus).




Vinod Balachandran, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

Dr Vinod P Balachandran is a physician-scientist in the Immuno-Oncology Service of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) and a clinically active hepatopancreatobiliary surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). His focus is to discover new immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer, a common, deadly cancer with a 91% mortality rate despite all current therapies. His approach is to study a highly rare subgroup of pancreatic cancer patients that, remarkably, survive long-term. He aims to discover the immunological principles in these patients and translate these principles into new immunotherapies. With this approach, his laboratory discoveries over the past 5 years led to the first clinical trial of personalized mRNA neoantigen vaccines for pancreatic cancer – a cancer historically considered vaccine unsuited. This trial demonstrated that personalized mRNA vaccines are safe, feasible, strongly immunogenic, and may delay pancreatic cancer recurrence. The primary focus of Dr. Balachandran’s lab is to test and establish principles of personalized cancer vaccination in pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, as pancreatic cancer phenocopies the ~80% of cancers that resist first generation immunotherapies, he aims to extend these principles to other cancers, and thus achieve broad impact.

Social Program

9th May 2024 | 20h00 | More details will be announced soon.

Meeting Dinner: 60€

Abstract Submission

The call for abstracts will be open until 26th February 2024 (notification of acceptance until 12th March 2024). The abstract will be evaluated and selected either for oral communication or poster communication.

Abstracts should be structured according to the following template:

Abstract template >>

Abstract submission form >>


Early bird registration until 15th March 2024 | Payment deadline: 22nd March 2024

- i3S members, P.CCC Raquel Seruca members & Students: 65€
- ASPIC members: 85€
- External participants: 150€

Late registration until 28th March 2024 | Payment deadline: 4th April 2024
- i3S members, P.CCC Raquel Seruca members & Students: 85€
- ASPIC members: 85€
- External participants: 170€


Walking distance to i3S

Hotel Ibis São João **
Rua Dr. Plácido Costa | 4200-450 Porto
Telephone: (+351) 225 513 100
E-mail: H3227@ACCOR.COM
Walking distance: 10 minutes


Axis Porto – Business & SPA Hotel ****
Rua Maria Feliciana, 100 – São Mamede de Infesta
4465-283 Matosinhos – Porto
Phone: (+351) 229 052 000
Walking distance: 25 minutes


Eurostars Oporto Hotel ****
Rua do Mestre Guilherme Camarinha, 212
4200-537 Porto
Phone: (+351) 225 072 090
Walking distance: 15 minutes


Accessible by subway from Porto city center

Hotel Porto Moov Centro **
Praça da Batalha 32, 4000-101 Porto
Telephone: (+351) 220 407 000
Average time: 20 minutes


Legendary Porto Hotel ***
Praça da Batalha, 127-130 | 4000-102 Porto
Telephone: (+351) 223 392 300
Average time: 20 minutes


Pão de Açucar Hotel ***
Rua do Almada, 262 | 4050-032 Porto
Telephone: (+351) 222 002 425 / 222 011 589
Average time: 15 minutes


Hotel Moon & Sun Porto****
R. de Sá de Noronha 70, 4050-526 Porto
Telephone: +351 222 081 875
Average time: 20 minutes


Oca Oriental Porto Hotel****
R. do Padre António Vieira 83, 4300-031 Porto
Telephone: +351 221 450 307
Average time: 20 minutes


Trindade Porto Hotel ****
Rua de Camões, nº 129 / 131 | 4000-144 Porto
Telephone: (+351) 222 061 520
Average time: 15 minutes



Institutional Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

The grant from the Fund for Innovations in Sustainable Conferencing provided by The Company of Biologists was used to replace plane travel by low carbon transportation for speakers.


Silver Sponsors


Other Sponsors


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