15/03/2017 - Institutional news
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.
02/03/2017 - Institutional news
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.
23/02/2017 - Press release
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.
20/02/2017 - Press release
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.
13/2/2017 - General information
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.
24/01/2017 - General information
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.
17/01/2017 - General information
The kick-off meeting of the project ESCAPE-NET (European Sudden Cardiac Arrest network: towards Prevention, Education and New Treatment) will be held from 17-19 January, in Amsterdam. This project falls under the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, in the area of personalised medicine and within the sudden cardiac arrest field. The project is being coordinated by the Academisch Medisch Centrum at the University of Amsterdam and involves a total of 16 scientific teams from all over Europe. These include the Systems Pharmacology Research group from the Biomedical Informatics programme at the IMIM and UPF, coordinated byDr Jordi Mestres. This group will contribute its experience and expertise in the field of predicting the mechanism of action and safety of drugs and will help develop a personalised risk score for sudden cardiac arrest based on the individual analysis of chemical and biological markers associated with cardiac arrhythmia. Sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 20% of deaths in Europe; currently survival rates are only between 5 and 20%, so there is a pressing need to improve both prevention and treatment. So far, efforts towards this have been hampered by a lack of large patient cohorts with detailed information on the disease.
19/12/2016 - Press release
A study directed by researchers from the UAB and IMIM are the first to reveal how pregnancy causes long-lasting alterations in brain structure, probably related to improving the mother’s ability to protect and interact with the child. The research was published in Nature Neuroscience. Pregnancy involves radical hormone surges and biological adaptations, but the effects on the brain are still unknown. In this study a team of researchers compared the structure of the brain of women before and after their first pregnancy. This is the first research to show that pregnancy involves long-lasting changes – at least for two years post-partum – in the morphology of a woman's brain. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the scientists have been able to show that the brains of women who have undergone a first pregnancy present significant reductions in grey matter in regions associated with social cognition.
Dr. Bellmunt returns to Barcelona after almost 4 years in the US heading up the bladder cancer unit in one of America's top cancer hospitals, and an international benchmark in cancer treatment, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Joaquim Bellmunt Molins, a genitourinary cancer specialist and a world leader in bladder and kidney cancer, has been selected to be Director of Research at the Parc de Salut Mar (PSMAR) in Barcelona and director of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM). Putting a professional with both clinical and management experience at an international level at the head of the PSMAR's research and as director of the IMIM will help research strategies align with healthcare goals and increasingly position the institution as global leader in research applied to patients. His incorporation will be effective as of November 14. Dr. Bellmunt was the head of the Solid Tumours section at Hospital del Mar from 2006 to 2013, leading the clinical research into genitourinary cancer at the IMIM. In March 2013, he was given the job of directing the Bladder Cancer Centre, a consortium comprising the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, one of the best cancer centres in the world, and the Brighman and Women's Hospital. During his time in the US, he was appointed associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, a position he kept until his transition to our university. During this time, he maintained his links with the IMIM and PSMAR.
3/10/2016 - Press release
A study led by researchers at the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) has analysed the number of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) detected at high concentrations in the population of the US and found relationships with socioeconomic factors, including gender, race, body mass index, education and poverty. More than 10% of the US population has 10 or more POPs, each and all of them at a 'top 10' concentration; that is, at a concentration above the 90th. percentile. POPs are a group of chemical contaminants that humans can barely excrete and that degrade very slowly, therefore accumulating in our bodies and environment. Most POPs have been used as pesticides or are industrial residues; most POPs contaminate animal and human food webs.