Titles and Affiliations

Director, Medical Oncology Research Program
Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology
Barcelona, Spain

Research area

Developing novel therapies that utilize the power of the immune system to treat breast cancer. 


Normal cells respond to damage by halting cell division, putting the cells in a state of cellular senescence. Similarly, malignant cells will become senescent in response to some therapies. While senescent tumor cells no longer proliferate, they remain molecularly active and produce factors that promote aggressiveness in neighboring tumor cells. Dr. Arribas’ team is focused on developing novel strategies that redirect the immune system against senescent cells, thereby eradicating them and increasing the efficacy of breast cancer therapies.  

Progress thus far

Dr. Arribas and his colleagues developed experimental models that helped to established that cellular senescence can be either anti- or pro-tumorigenic depending on the stage of the tumor. From this, they have defined at which stage senescent cells should be eliminated to prevent tumor progression.

What’s next

Dr. Arribas and his colleagues will utilize the previously developed models to identify cell surface biomarkers specifically expressed by senescent cells. They will then utilize their expertise in engineering immune cells to target these biomarkers and prevent senescense.


Dr. Joaquin Arribas is the Director of Preclinical Research Program at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain, where he leads a group focused on the study of growth factors, growth factor receptors, and the proteases involved in remodeling the cell surface. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Translational Oncology, and CDB Protein Systems.

Dr. Arribas is member of the Spanish and American Societies of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and President of the Committee for the Evaluation of Cancer Research project at the Institute of Health Carlos III, a major public funding agency in Spain.

Dr. Arribas completed his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Madrid, where he subsequently worked on the regulation of the catalytic activities of the proteasome and received a PhD in biology in 1991. Sponsored by a fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, he joined Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a postdoctoral fellow to work with Dr. Joan Massague (1992-1996) on the proteolytic processing of transmembrane growth factors. In 1997, he joined the Oncology Department at Hospital Vall d'Hebron as a staff scientist and was promoted to lead the oncology research department in 2001. Dr. Arribas’s research has been recognized by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), which honored him with a Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award. Also, Dr. Arribas received the Beckman Coulter Award conferred on the Best Young Spanish Investigator in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Ulta Beauty Award

Areas of Focus