Msc in Biology from the University of Valencia, 1974, and PhD degree in Sciences from the University Autonoma of Madrid (UAM), 1978. She performed her PhD project at the Institute of Enzymology and Molecular Pathology, (CSIC), Madrid (presently, Institute of Biomedical Research Alberto Sols-IIBm, a joint CSIC-UAM center) and her postdoctoral training in USA, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. In 1981 she returned to the IIBm as a postdoctoral fellow, and in 1984 was appointed at the Department of Biochemistry (UAM) as Associate Professor being promoted to Full Professor in 2000. She is Associate senior researcher of the IIBm where she leads the “Invasion and metastasis” group. She was Chair of the Department of Biochemistry-UAM (2006-2009) and Vice-chair of IIBm (2004-2006).
Her research interest over the past 30 years have focus on the role of cell adhesion processes and their regulation during tumor progression and metastasis. One of her relevant contribution was the identification of the loss of E-cadherin associated to tumor grade in human breast carcinomas and to invasion in skin basal carcinomas. Those studies paved the way for the use of E-cadherin as a biomarker in different carcinomas, presently used in the clinic. Following studies of Dr. A. Cano focused in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying E-cadherin downregulation during tumor progression. The most relevant contribution of that period was the identification of negative regulatory elements in the E-cadherin promoter and, in a joint effort with Dr. Angela Nieto and Dr. Francisco Portillo, the identification of Snail1 as a potent E-cadherin repressor and inducer of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), a milestone that opened the field of EMT regulation and its involvement in pathological processes, in particular in tumor metastasis. Further A. Cano’s studies identified additional E-cadherin repressors/EMT inducers (Snail2, E47 and E2-2) and extensively characterized their regulatory mechanisms; among them, novel regulators of Snail1 activity, LOXL2 and LOXL3 (lysyl oxidase-like 2 and 3). During the last decade, A Cano’s group is studying the role of LOXL2 and LOXL3 in tumor progression. Using novel genetic mouse models and human tumors, LOXL2 has been identified as a prognostic marker of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and characterized its requirement for breast carcinomas metastasis, while LOXL3 is an essential molecule for melanoma cell survival.
Amparo Cano has published more than 125 scientific articles, with around 18,000 cites, and an h-factor of 52. She also authored 5 patents. She was awarded with the Lilly Award of Biomedical Research-Preclinical section 2014, and with the International Award Ramiro Carregal of Oncological Research 2018. She is regularly acting as scientific advisor and reviewer of different national and international research Institution or organizations and scientific journals. She has directed 17 PhD thesis and mentoring around 20 post-doctoral researchers, many of which are presently established as PIs in national or international research centers.