The Mutua Madrileña Foundation has delivered two million euros in aid this Monday to launch 27 new Spanish medical research projects. Through its XVIII Health Research Grants, the foundation will support new research in the area of transplants, rare childhood diseases, trauma, prostate cancer and COVID-19.
The delivery of its XVIII Call for Aid for Health Research was held in Madrid, at the Mutua Madrileña Auditorium, in a ceremony presided over by the president of the Mutua Group and its foundation, Ignacio Garralda; the president of the Scientific Committee of the Mutua Madrileña Foundation, Dr. Rafael Matesanz; and Professor Emilio Bouza, professor of Microbiology, promoter of Infectious Disease Medicine in Spain and a reference in the evolution of the pandemic. All three have been accompanied by the principal investigators of the studies that have received grants.
In this call, which this year has celebrated its eighteenth consecutive edition, the Mutua Foundation finances a total of 27 research projects, two of them in the category of cooperative projects between research centers from different autonomous communities. In total, the projects are developed by teams from 24 hospitals in 11 autonomous communities.
Six of the studies that will receive funding from these grants investigate ways to improve transplantation, another six are focused on trauma and its sequelae, five study rare diseases that manifest in childhood, three focus on oncology with special attention to prostate cancer and four of the studies are focused on investigating COVID. Additionally, another 3 studies will be financed led by specialists from the Adeslas medical staff, from the Mutua Madrileña Group. At the same event, seven international cooperation scholarships have been awarded to health professionals who will carry out care work as volunteers in various African countries.
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 a disease ultra rare that affects about thirty boys and girls 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, 4 new studies will be financed, to which we must add another 2 in the Adeslas category. With them there are already 10 studies on COVID-19 financed by the Mutual Foundation.
The new projects in COVID-19 will study, among other aspects, the efficacy of the 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, a couple of works in the field of transplants also stand out 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”.
In 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 (Hospital 12 de Octubre Research Institute (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 work disability (Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla-IBIS ), among others.
Finally, in the area of Oncology, this year focused on prostate cancer, three studies will be financed, one of them being the one that the Bellvitge-IDIBELL Biomedical Research Institute will carry out to identify and characterize bone metastases of this tumor by imaging techniques.