It is not news that DNA contains all of the human information but the system proposed by the Galician company Cenbimo (The Centre of Molecular Biology) to detect, to stop, and to prevent cancer is new.


same system that operate computers as both are organised in binary series of 0 (turned off) and 1 (turned on). In this sense, the person responsible for the Lugo entity, Doctor Jesús Alba (Pathologist), explains that cancer supposes that “genes are turned on that should be turned off.”

In order to turn off those genes and, in that way, turn on lives, Doctor Alba and his team have been working since 1998 with 150 samples of cancer of the breast. One of the results of their research has been the patenting of ‘Histosonda,’ an innovative system that fulfills a triple objective: detect nucleic acids in order to verify the source of a malignant tumour, identify the genes that produce the cancer (called “oncogenes”), and establish a relation between a cancer and a virus, the causal agents of cancer in 25% of patients today which “will continue to increase,” according to the pathologist.

The patent conceived in this City of Walls offers several advantages such as avoiding the secondary effects of the most aggressive treatments, a reduction in the price of the process, and greater speed in the detection of the pathology. The root of ‘Histosonda’ means "exploration of the histology" (a field of anatomy concerning the study of organic tissues) with 28 variants now catalogued in order to detect each gene. But the company are working with more than one hundred probes for which they predict that the range of possibilities is growing.

Cenbimo was founded in August of 2004, six years after the initiation of the research and with the objective of “making molecular biology visible.” Today, the company maintain contacts with an American multinational biotechnological entity for marketing and distributing the product to its international clients. The prediction is that in less than two years, ‘Histosonda’ will be in the world market with the advantage of not having competition in the sector, at least for the moment.

Internationalisation is a challenge for this Lugo group because “success is not defined by selling only in Spain... and we hope to reach all of the world,” Alba confessed. Not in vain, the products have sparked such interest that a variety of multinational businesses have contacted them regarding the possibility to act as marketing intermediaries.

Until now, Cenbimo conducted research in the medical field but does not discard widening its intervention to all of the biological sciences, including the veterinary or botanical sciences, for example. In fact, the company collaborates as needed with research groups of the University of Santiago de Compostela as well as with world authorities in the clinical branch of medicine.

Innovation is of triple importance: first, it is important for the individual because it stimulates a person's knowledge and his or her continuous development; second, it is important for science given that science produces knowledge; and third, it is important for the economy due to the possibility that it will create industry and generate employment by means of patents”. Jesús Alba.


In order to develop their work, this limited society in Lugo had initial social capital of 1.5 million Euros. To that sum must be added the contributions made by the Regional Ministry of Economy and Industry such as a subsidy of 162,000 Euros from the Galician Institute of Economic Promotion (IGAPE) that was used to finance 75% of a sequencer (a reader of the genetic sequence extracted from a human) or other assistance amounting to 120,000 Euros for an R&D project to study the genes implicated in metastasis. In spite of the fact that the company have until 2013 to finish the project, the opinion is that it will be in a position to present results one year earlier than previously expected. Moreover, it was necesary to rely on two private financing schemes, each one with a value of 300,000 Euros in order to move their projects forward.

Regardless of having only nine workers (a medical pathologist, two biochemists, four biologists, one warehouse worker, and one administrator), this company ambitiously looks toward the future. Doctor Alba determined the main challenges to be integrally understanding the process of cancer and achieving the establishment of a correlation between the computer model and the genetic sequences. Being realistic, he explained that “we are not going to eliminate cancer in one day” but initiatives such as his contribute to the possibility to see the end of an illness that increasingly spreads more and more than initially foreseen.

The company have achieved the ISO9001 and ISO-­13845 international certifications of quality and, at this time, it has nine active projects along with collaborations with the University and “many other pending.” For those reasons, the affirmation of the pathologist is no surprise when, with research of this calibre being carried out in this small city, he emphasised that “there is DNA in Lugo just as in all parts of the world.”

The company today have 9 on-going innovation projects with collaborations with the university.