The Josep Carreras Research Institute has inaugurated today the largest scientific center in Europe dedicated exclusively to researching leukemia, located in the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona (Barcelona) and with an area of more than 100,000 square meters.
The location of the new center responds to the objective of the José Carreras Institute to support translational research, in which clinical researchers and scientists can work in an integrated manner together with hospitals and universities, so that patients can access new treatments more quickly. .
"You can not create a cancer research institute far from the place where the patients are being cared for, because our vision is a very translational vision, of being close to the patient and of his problems and from there to do research", he explained. the scientific director of the Josep Carreras Foundation, Evarist Feliu.
In a transversal way, the institute develops research that can benefit all hematological patients, such as improvements in haematopoietic progenitor cell transplants, epigenetic alterations and thrombosis or infections, which are the main causes of mortality in these patients.
The new building is equipped with the most advanced technology in medical research, as equipment that allows analyzing more than a thousand cells, one by one, in just three days; advanced DNA chip analyzers, a cytogenetic platform and, in particular, a base of blood samples from patients diagnosed with leukemia.
The center's scientific director, Francesc Solé, explained that these blood samples arrive at the institute through an underground tube that connects it with the Hospital Germans Trias, which are then stored in freezers and serve as the basis for the investigation.
Solé stressed that these new technologies not only mean a better treatment for the patient, but also a saving of resources, since "when introducing a technology that is a little more expensive, deep down you are saving money", They are able to perform complex tasks in less time.
"What is really expensive is dealing with expensive medications that you know may not work with certain genetic changes, the important thing is that the patient receives the treatment that will make them respond to that treatment," Solé said.
Altogether, the Josep Carreras Research Institute has three centers (Clínic, Sant Pau and Gemans Trias) with around 150 workers, which is expected to reach 300 in the coming years and generate 75% of the income of the institute, thanks to access to projects, subsidies and creation of patents.
"If you bring talent to the institute, the talent will give you money," said Feliu.
The Josep Carreras Foundation has invested a total of 26 million euros in the construction and start-up of the new building, in addition to the operating expenses financed by the Generalitat, as it is a public center, by competitive projects and funds from the European Research Council.
The foundation's manager, Antoni Garcia Prat, stressed that there are spaces in the new center that have yet to be built and equipped, because when they planned the building they did so taking into account "the next 30 years" and for that reason they did not worries that there are empty spaces at the moment, because "the objective is to grow".
Feliu stressed that among the three centers of the institute currently open twelve different lines of research, serve about 4,500 new patients a year, monitor more than 31,500 patients and carry out more than 35,000 acts of chemotherapy and more than 250 clinical trials per year.
The foundation plans, by 2019, to adapt a new research center in the Sant Pau modernist complex and is currently in talks to open another one that is attached to the University of Girona, where they have one of the donor and donor sample banks. largest transplant recipients in Europe.