The Mutua Madrileña Foundation has delivered on Tuesday two million euros in aid to start up 27 new Spanish medical research projects. Through its XVIII Grants for Health Research, the foundation will support new research in the area of transplants, rare childhood diseases, traumatology, prostate cancer and COVID-19.
With this call, which this year has celebrated its eighteenth consecutive edition, the Mutua Foundation contributes financially to the quality medical research carried out in Spain. This year a total of 27 research projects are financed, two of them in the category of cooperative projects between research centers from different autonomous communities. In total, taking into account all the hospitals who are going to participate in the collaborative projects, the Fundación Mutua will support the work of research teams from 24 hospitals in 11 autonomous communities.
The research projects will be carried out in the areas of improvement pathways for transplants (6 studies), traumatology and its sequelae (6 studies), rare diseases that manifest in childhood (5 studies), oncology focused in this edition on the Cancer prostate (3 studies) and COVID-19 (4 studies). Additionally, another 3 studies will be financed, led by specialists from the medical staff of Adeslas, a leading insurance company in health insurance and belonging to the Mutua Madrileña Group, within the special category provided for in the bases.
Two of the selected projects will be carried out in collaboration between several Spanish hospitals. In the first of these, the team of Dr. Gloria Álvarez Llamas, from the Jiménez Diaz Foundation Health Research Institute, together with teams from the Puerta de Hierro hospitals in Madrid, Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander, Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona and Cruces in Bilbao they will use the liquid donor biopsy to look for markers that predict long-term kidney function after transplantation.
In the second of the collaborative studies, in the area of rare diseases, Dr. Javier Torres, from the Institut de Recerca Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron-IR-HUVH, will develop a gene therapy strategy to correct a mutation that causes an ultra-rare disease that affects about thirty children in the world. It will do so with teams from the 12 de Octubre hospitals in Madrid, the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IIS) in Aragon and the IIS in Navarra. If the strategy is validated, it could be implemented in other diseases.
Studies in Covid-19
This year, the call for grants included a specific category for studies aimed at improving knowledge or seeking treatments for COVID-19. In this category will be financed 4 new studies, to which we must add another 2 in the Adeslas category. With them there are already 10 studies financed by the Mutual Foundation in COVID-19.
The new projects in COVID-19 will study, among other aspects, the efficacy of vaccine in immunosuppressed patients and the need or not for an early booster dose. These studies will be carried out at the Research Foundation of the La Fe University Hospital and at the San Carlos Hospital Clínico de Madrid Health Research Institute. The Santiago de Compostela Health Research Institute will develop a new diagnostic method for SARS-CoV-2 based on the CRISPR gene editing technique that was recognized in 2020 with the Nobel Prize.
Other featured studies
Among the funded studies, there are also a couple of works in the field of transplants that will validate the use of artificial intelligence in donor-recipient matching in transplants to improve survival and increase the number of organs available. These studies will be carried out at the Hospital Clinic-IDIBAPS in Barcelona and the Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía-IMIBIC in Córdoba, respectively.
In rare diseases, the La Princesa University Hospital Health Research Institute of Madrid will study the affectation of the microbiota and the small intestine in patients with bone marrow transplantation and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and, from the Biomedical Research Institute of Málaga-IBIMA will validate a technique to include the detection of a rare disease, adrenoleukodystrophy linked to the X chromosome, using samples collected from neonates in the so-called “heel test”.
On traumatology, the six studies that will be financed will address disparate topics associated with the specialty, such as the study of sleep disorders after concussion (Research Institute Hospital 12 de Octubre (i + 12) in Madrid), a new anti-inflammatory treatment for head trauma (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Illes Balears-IdisBA) or the convenience and results of surgery in the solution of the so-called carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the hand and is associated with incapacity for work (Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla-IBIS), among others.
Finally, in the area of OncologyThis year focused on prostate cancer, three studies will be financed, one of them being the one carried out by the Bellvitge-IDIBELL Biomedical Research Institute to identify and characterize the bone metastases of this tumor by imaging techniques.
In addition, international cooperation scholarships have been awarded to health professionals who will provide assistance work as volunteers in different countries in Africa.