IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

News

  • 11/07/2017 - Press release

    Key immunological mechanism for regulating intestinal flora discovered

    Researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have shown for the first time that immunoglobulin M, secreted by the human intestine, plays a key role in maintaining the diversity of intestinal flora by including and maintaining microorganisms that are beneficial to our health. These results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Immunity. "We have discovered that, in addition to immunoglobulin A, (IgA), immunoglobulin M (IgM), secreted by the human intestine, interacts with the intestinal microbiota and actively participates in maintaining its diversity. In addition, we have demonstrated that this immunoglobulin is part of an immunological memory system through which our organism is able to recognise and adapt to its microbial environment", explain Giuliana Magri and Laura Comerma, researchers from the B Cell Biology research group at the IMIM and first authors of the article.

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  • 01/06/2017 - Institutional news

    The Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute and Chemotargets sign collaboration agreement

    The Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute announced today that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Chemotargets, an IMIM's spin-off. The aim of the collaboration is to further understand the mechanism of action of some active hits in leukemia discovered at IJC, and exploit this information to identify new chemical entities with improved pharmacology and safety profiles using Chemotargets’ precision modeling platform. The acute myeloid leukemia (AML) research group, directed by Dr. Ruth M. Risueño, recently published a study in which the importance of serotonin receptor subtype 1 (HTR1) in AML was highlighted (Etxabe et al. Leukemia 2017). “We observed that AML cells differentially expressed HTR1 compared with healthy blood cells and the most primitive hematopoietic fraction; in fact, HTR1B expression in AML patient samples correlated with the clinical outcome”, said Dr. Risueño. “Based on these results and other projects developed in the group, we discovered some active hits on HTR1 and other receptors with antileukemia effects; these represent excellent starting points for a drug discovery program and Chemotargets’ platform will be of great help in this process”.

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  • 09/05/2017 - General information

    How proteins find each other to form signaling complexes

    A study led by Jana Selent, head of the GPCR drug discovery group of GRIB (IMIM-UPF) and Martha Sommer (Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics at the Faculty of Medicine in Charité Hospital, Berlin) published in the journal Nature Communications, focused on how G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and arrestin form complexes. The human GPCR family is an important class of targets for nearly half of all medicines prescribed today with the majority being involved in sensory and neuronal processes. Complex formation with intracellular signaling proteins such as arrestin is critical for many bodily processes. In this context, the published study identifies a previously unknown binding element critical to GPCR-arrestin interaction. Using a combination of computer simulations and site-directed fluorescence spectroscopy, the researchers were able to show that loops within the C-edge of arrestin are anchored to the membrane while forming pre- and high affinity complexes with GPCRs.

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  • 04/05/2017 - Events

    Mutation discovered that, linked with drug, predisposes osteoporosis patients to femur fracture

    Researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the University of Barcelona have uncovered a mutation that makes bone vulnerable to bisphosphonates, drugs used to combat osteoporosis. Instead of strengthening bone and preventing fractures, these medicines induce a critical problem that makes the femur more prone to breaks. This discovery, enormously significant clinically, was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, the most important biomedical journal in terms of potential impact. Osteoporosis causes fractures that affect up to 40% of people over the age of 50. Bisphosphonates are efficient and cheap, making them the first line of treatment for this condition. Nevertheless, they have been associated with atypical fracturing of the femur. "Despite the rarity of this complication and the fact that many more fractures are prevented than induced, fear of this complication has led to the prescription of these drugs being criticised, especially for long-term treatment", explains study leader Dr. Adolf Díez, emeritus head of internal medicine at Hospital del Mar and a researcher in the musculoskeletal research group at the IMIM. 

    Més informació "Mutation discovered that, linked with drug, predisposes osteoporosis patients to femur fracture"

  • 15/03/2017 - Institutional news

    New research groups at the IMIM

    On 27th February, the IMIM Steering Committee was given the green light to create three new research groups at the institute: the  Epilepsy Research Group, coordinated by Rodrigo Alberto Rocamora and part of the Neurosciences research programme; the GPCR drug discovery Research Group, coordinated by Jana Selent and part of the research programme in Biomedical Informatics; and the Colorectal Neoplasms Clinical and Translational Research Group, within the Cancer research programme and alternately coordinated by Xavier Bessa and Miquel Pera. This last group has arisen from a merger between the Colorectal Cancer Research Group that Miguel Pera was coordinating and the Translational Research in Colorectal Neoplasia group that was coordinated by Montserrat Andreu.

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  • 02/03/2017 - Institutional news

    Chemotargets, one of the five top Biotechs at BIO Europe Spring 2017

    From 20th to 22nd March, Barcelona will host the most important European partnering conference in the biotech and pharma sectors. The aim of this International Conference is to bring together pharmaceutical, biotechnology and financial firms to form alliances and partnerships for achieving common goals. More than 1,400 companies from 45 countries are expected to participate, with more than 2,400 people attending. In this edition, Chemotargets, the IMIM spin-off dedicated to developing software for predicting the mechanism of action and safety of new drugs, directed by Dr. Jordi Mestres, Coordinator of the Systems Pharmacology research group at the GRIB (IMIM-UPF), is one of the 5 biotech companies from Barcelona invited to take part.

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  • 23/02/2017 - Press release

    New role of cholesterol in regulating brain proteins discovered

    A study led by researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics at the Faculty of Medicine in Charité Hospital, Berlin, published in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrates that the cholesterol present in cell membranes can interfere with the function of an important brain membrane protein, through a previously unknown mode of interaction. Specifically, cholesterol is capable of regulating the activity of the adenosine receptor, by invading it and accessing the active site. This will allow new ways of interacting with these proteins to be devised that in the future could lead to drugs for treating diseases like Alzheimer's. The adenosine receptor belongs to the GPCR family (G Protein-Coupled Receptors), a large group of proteins located in cell membranes, which are key in the transmission of signals and communication between cells. GPCRs are therefore involved in the majority of important physiological processes, including the interpretation of sensory stimuli such as vision, smell, and taste, the regulation of the immune and inflammatory system, and behaviour modulation.

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  • 20/02/2017 - Press release

    Immunotherapy shown to be more effective than chemotherapy for treating bladder cancer

    An international multicentre study led by cancer specialist Joaquim Bellmunt, director of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and coordinator of the IMIM's Genitourinary Oncology research group, has demonstrated the effectiveness of immunotherapy in treating advanced bladder cancer when the initial chemotherapy using cisplatin no longer works. It is the first time patient survival has been significantly prolonged in this kind of situation. The treatment also improves the quality of life of patients with respect to chemotherapy. This phase III study published in the highly prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, a benchmark for advances in applied medicine, becomes a reference work as until now there had been no significant breakthroughs in bladder cancer treatment that could be applied when the first option was no longer effective. These results provide evidence supporting the use of Pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, as a new standard treatment for advanced bladder cancer, as has also been demonstrated for other types of tumour such as melanoma and lung cáncer.

    Més informació "Immunotherapy shown to be more effective than chemotherapy for treating bladder cancer"

  • 13/2/2017 - General information

    CompBioMed, a centre of excellence in computational biomedicine, is born

    Predictive models of diseases are gaining importance in medicine thanks to their usefulness when customizing treatments. Hence, computational methods based on human biology have become a key factor for the development of customized medicine. This scenario has led to the birth of CompBioMed project, a centre of excellence in biomedical computing that promotes the uptake and exploitation of high performance computing (HPC) in the field of biomedicine. Basic, clinical and industrial researchers will be able to participate as users in the new project, which, for the moment, will work in three different areas: cardiovascular, molecular and neuromusculoskeletal. University College of London is leading the initiative, which promotes interdisciplinary business opportunities by getting its industrial partners to participate, as well as support and facilitate modelling and simulation activities and provide education to a diverse set of communities.

    Més informació "CompBioMed, a centre of excellence in computational biomedicine, is born"

  • 24/01/2017 - General information

    Sixteen million euros injected into research on adverse drug reactions

     A new European research project has been launched, TransQST (Translational Quantitative Systems Toxicology) funded with 16 million euros, aimed at improving the understanding of adverse effects to drugs and their safety, which will provide innovative methods and software for modelling toxicological systems. Project participants include the Integrative Biomedical Informatics research group at the IMIM (GRIB, IMIM-UPF), coordinated by Laura Furlong and Ferran Sanz. Adverse reactions to drugs are unwanted side effects and involve significant cost in terms of patient morbidity, mortality and hospitalisation. TransQST will last five years, and its goal is to develop new computational methods using the best data available from both the public and private spheres to address the problems of safe drug development. It is being funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertakint (IMI 2), a public-private European initiative that aims to accelerate the development of more effective and safer drugs for patients.

    Més informació "Sixteen million euros injected into research on adverse drug reactions"

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