IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

News

  • 13/09/2017 - Press release

    40 Million EUR European project for new drug safety assessment and integrative data analysis research.

    The five-year project, Enhancing Translational Safety Assessment through Integrative Knowledge Management (eTRANSAFE), aims to develop an advanced data integration infrastructure together with innovative computational methods to improve the security in drug development process and is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (IMI 2) together with the pharmaceutical industry. The eTRANSAFE consortium is a private and public partnership of 8 academic institutions, 6 SMEs and 12 pharmaceutical companies, and is coordinated by the Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM) and led by the pharmaceutical company Novartis and Bayer AG. The eTRANSAFE project aims at improving the safety assessment across the drug discovery and development process by applying bioinformatics approaches to shared preclinical and clinical data to systematically analyse the translatability of effects. Thus, enabling the optimisation of resources and the development of safer medicines.

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  • 22/09/2017 - Institutional news

    Communiqué from the universities and research centres of Catalonia

    Today, the highest representatives of the universities and research centres of Catalonia (60 institutions, representing around 90% of the university and research community) have met to assess the current situation in Catalonia resulting from the actions of the Spanish Government over the last few days. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the trade unions and students' associations. It has been concluded that the good repute of the academic and research institutions of Catalonia has been undermined by their inclusion by the Ministry of Finance and Civil Service in a list of institutions whose budgetary powers have been rescinded and which are, therefore, in the eyes of the Ministry, suspected of being liable to fraudulent behaviour. This list has been communicated to the banks in order to block and assume control of the management of ordinary financial affairs, with no form of direct prior notification to the universities and research centres. These actions are a threat to academic and research activity, including that funded by European Union resources or private funds, and damage both the reputation and the credibility of the institutions at an international level, thereby putting in peril their participation in international projects, and their ability to attract and retain talent. 

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  • 29/08/2017 - Press release

    Autoimmune diseases increase cardiovascular and mortality risk

    Researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and IDIAP Jordi Gol have just published an article showing that autoimmune diseases significantly increase cardiovascular risk as well as overall mortality. This is particularly pronounced in people suffering rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition, it has been seen that inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's or ulcerative colitis, increase the risk of stroke and death through any cause. The article is published this month in the journal Heart. The 6-year study followed a cohort of nearly 1 million people aged between 35 and 85, with no history of cardiovascular disease. The large sample size allowed the estimation of cardiovascular event incidence and mortality in people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. Some of these diseases are relatively frequent, so their impact is quite significant. It is estimated that rheumatoid arthritis affects between 150,000 and 200,000 people in Spain, and somewhere around 100,000 people suffer Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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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