Best scientific images

The 12 winning images of the VHIR Scientific Photography Contest

Our Key Figures

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2179

TOTAL STAFF

1131

RESEARCH STAFF

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65

WOMAN STAFF

1629

NUMBER OF
PUBLICATIONS

15288

TOTAL IMPACT
FACTOR

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41

PUBLICATIONS
LEADERSHIP

220

NEW PROJECT & HR GRANTS

28

GRANTS FUNDING

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430

ONGOING PROJECTS

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223

NEW CLINICAL STUDIES

975

ACTIVE CLINICAL STUDIES

773

NEW PATIENT INCLUSION

44

LICENSED PATENTS

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3

SPIN-OFFS/START-UPS
APPROVED

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723

REVENUE FROM
INNOVATION

Highlights

New platform based on human lung tissue developed for SARS-CoV-2 study to help identify potential treatments

Despite the significant advances that have been made in drug discovery to treat COVID-19, the rapid identification of new antivirals that could be easily transferred to the clinic continues to be very important, especially considering the emergence of drug-resistant variants. In this sense, the group led by Dr. María José Buzón, head of the HIV Translational Research laboratory within the Infectious Diseases research group at Vall d’Hebron Research, together with Dr. Meritxell Genescà, principal investigator of the same group, developed a novel and rapid method for the study of SARS-CoV-2 that helps to identify potential treatments and to analyze its ability to modify local inflammation. The results of the study were published in PLOS Pathogens.

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Vall d’Hebron unveils a mural dedicated to female scientists

Coinciding with 11 February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus unveiled the mural Pioneres (Pioneers), an action promoted by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation in conjunction with the biotech pharmaceutical company Amgen, aligned with the Vall d’Hebron and ICS Arts in Health policy. The mural aims to humanise the Vall d’Hebron Campus setting through art, raising the visibility of nine women who, from Ancient Greece to the modern day, have contributed to progress in health sciences.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BETEVÉ

A Vall d'Hebron study opens the door to personalized medicine in migraine

During a migraine attack, several substances that are related to pain are released. One of these is calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is a commonly used therapeutic target for the treatment of migraine by blocking drugs. This therapy, however, is not effective in all cases. Now, the Headache and Neurological Pain group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) measured the levels of this protein in saliva during migraine attacks and has observed that there are two types of attacks: those in which CGRP increases and those in which it does not. Describing migraine at the molecular level and understanding the differences between individuals may help to establish a classification between types of migraine and move towards personalized medicine. The results of the work were published in the journal Cephalalgia.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE  EL PERIÓDICO

A study by Vall d'Hebron shows the relationship between insomnia and ADHD improvement

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the population, especially in people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In fact, 1 in 3 adults have insomnia symptoms, while this frequency doubles in people with ADHD. A study led by the Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions Group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the CIBER of Mental Health (CIBERSAM) studied the relationship between both disorders. It found that improved sleep quality is associated with less severity of ADHD symptoms. The results were published in Psychiatry Research.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE EL PUNT AVUI

Analysis of placental biomarkers in blood could prevent unnecessary ultrasound scans in fetal growth restriction

The Fetal Maternal Medicine group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Obstetrics Department of Vall d’Hebron University Hospital demonstrated the usefulness of placental biomarkers for fetal growth restriction surveillance. The analysis of these markers in blood provides information on the risk of having a premature birth in the following weeks and, therefore, informs on the need to carry out a more or less exhaustive follow-up according to each case and to avoid performing unnecessary ultrasound examinations. The results of the study were published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BIOTECH SPAIN

Vall d'Hebron leads a study that identifies a new mechanism involved in heart energy deficiency during aging

A study led by the Cardiovascular Diseases group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) identified an innovative molecular mechanism involved in the alterations of the structure of mitochondrial cristae during heart aging that has negative consequences on the energy efficiency of mitochondria, the energy factories of cells, and that may participate in exercise intolerance and favor the development of heart failure during advanced age. The study was published in Aging Cell.

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Vall d'Hebron and Ospedale San Raffaele collaborate to promote health research

Collaboration between research centers is key to achieving the best results. With this aim, representatives and researchers from Vall d’Hebron and Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan (Italy) met in Barcelona on May 5 and 6 with the aim of promoting joint scientific projects. This meeting took place in the context of the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA), in which both centers participate.

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Vall d'Hebron describes a new mechanism to understand the long-term maintenance of the HIV cellular reservoir

The antiretroviral therapy used for the treatment of HIV infection is not able to completely eliminate the virus from the body. This is because the virus remains latently hidden in some cells. These are the cellular reservoirs, which can be found in different areas, such as the lymph nodes or the gastrointestinal tract. These reservoirs can be reactivated if antiretroviral treatment is temporarily interrupted or in some tissues where drugs are not able to fully penetrate. A study by the Infectious Diseases group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) identified that, among these cells that reactivate after a period of latency, are CD4+ T lymphocytes that express a molecule on their surface known as CD32. The results of the project, published in the journal eLife, provide new insights into the long-term maintenance of the HIV reservoir.

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Activation of different genes would explain the higher severity of acute kidney injury in males than in females

Acute kidney injury is characterized by a rapid decline in kidney function with a high mortality rate and progression to end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis and transplantation. Ischemia or lack of blood is the most frequent cause of this type of injury, affecting one in five patients in emergency admissions. This type of injury shows gender differences: for every two women, there are three men who progress to chronic and end-stage renal disease. Clinical studies have shown that men have a mortality rate twice as high as that of women and have observed that sex is an independent predictor of mortality. To understand what are the molecular processes of this type of damage and the differences between sexes, the Renal Pathophysiology group of Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) led a study to analyze the biochemical markers, tissue lesions and molecular changes that occur in this process. The results were published in Scientific Reports.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE TV3

Identified a biomarker that predicts long-term impairment in progressive multiple sclerosis patients

A study conducted by the Clinical Neuroimmunology Research Group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia (Cemcat) identified the concentration of serum neurofilament light chains (sNfL) as a biomarker that predicts the long-term involvement of patients with progressive multiple sclerosis. The study found that patients with levels of more than 10.2 picograms per milliliter (pg/ml) have a higher degree of disability a decade later than those with a lower level. The study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

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New drug could improve response to cancer treatments

Survival after a cancer diagnosis has increased in recent years. However, the prognosis remains serious when it is diagnosed in advanced stages, with metastasis, or in those which are resistant to the usual therapies. In this sense, a collaborative work led by the Translational Molecular Pathology group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Pharmaceutical Chemistry group (GQF) of the IQS School of Engineering (Universitat Ramon Llull), studied an inhibitor of a pathway related to resistance to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Blocking these mechanisms of tumor malignancy would increase the efficacy of these treatments. The work, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, is now in preclinical development stages, and was carried out in collaboration with the Biomedical Research in Urology group at VHIR and CIBER of Cancer (CIBERONC).

READ THE FULL ARTICLE LA VANGUARDIA

The Government distinguishes the VHIR with the Narcís Monturiol Plaque for its contribution to the development of science and technology

The Government approved the award of the Narcís Monturiol Plaque for scientific and technological merit, which recognizes the work of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). The Narcís Monturiol Medal was also awarded to five men and five women researchers of the Catalan knowledge system. These awards, instituted by the Generalitat in 1982, distinguish individuals and organizations for their outstanding contribution to the development of science and technology in Catalonia.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE  LA VANGUARDIA

Launch of the EUHA Innovation Network coordinated by Vall d’Hebron and Karolinska University Hospital

On the 2nd and 3rd of June, the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA) celebrated its 5th anniversary with a symposium at University Hospitals Leuven. During the symposium EUHA looked back at what it has achieved in the past 5 years in many different fields, ranging from scientific and clinical collaboration, to improving patient care, interaction with the European commission and tackling common problems together. Even more importantly, we looked at the future; together we identified emerging problems that we will address such as the healthcare workforce shortage. We also decided to strengthen the EUHA central structures and meet more frequently to support better the multiple existing and newly initiated projects.

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Vall d'Hebron tests a new treatment that allows kidney transplantation in inoperable patients until now

The Kidney Transplantation Unit of Vall d’Hebron was the first European transplant center to treat a patient in a Phase III clinical study to demonstrate the efficacy of a new drug that will allow kidney transplantation in people with a hyperactivated immune system. In these individuals, there is an excess of antibodies in the blood against most of the antigens of the population’s HLA system, which is expressed by the cells of the different tissues of the organism and marks whether an organ can be compatible for a specific patient. Therefore, in the event of a transplant, organ rejection would occur rapidly and practically irreversibly. Thus, these patients have an extremely low probability of finding a compatible donor, i.e. an organ without any HLA antigen against which these antibodies are directed. This new drug has the ability to eliminate the antibodies and may be an effective therapeutic alternative for such patients with end-stage renal disease, who are destined to remain on dialysis for many years.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE  ARA

The new SEHOP-PENCIL project seeks to implement precision medicine in childhood cancer in Spain

To facilitate access to precision medicine for all children and adolescents with cancer, regardless of their area of residence. This is the objective of the SEHOP-PENCIL project, developed by the Spanish Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (SEHOP) and coordinated by the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), which has been financed with 2 million euros by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, dependent on Ministry for Science and Innovation, with European funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. It involves 12 hospitals and research centers together with medical-scientific and patient associations which, over a period of four years, will design and evaluate a nation-wide sequencing program for childhood tumors in order to implement personalized medicine among the standards for diagnosis and treatment and to improve survival.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE  TVE

A Vall d'Hebron study advances in the knowledge of the biological basis of Parkinson's disease

Multiple factors are involved in the development of Parkinson’s disease, including age, genetic susceptibility, and environmental factors. The main genetic risk factor is found in the GBA gene: approximately 12% of patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s have mutations in this gene, and even patients who do not have this alteration also have low levels of GBA activity. A study led by the Autophagy and Lysosomal Dysfunction team belonging to the Neurodegenerative Diseases group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) identified a molecular mechanism that links the loss of the activity of this gene with the neuronal accumulation of α-synuclein, the main protein involved in Parkinson’s disease. The work was published in NPJ Parkinson’s Disease.

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Four Vall d'Hebron projects in mental health awarded by La Marató de TV3 2021

The 2021 edition of La Marató de TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio raised 12.147.989€ for research in the comprehensive approach to mental health, to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of patients and their families. Among the 150 projects presented and the 36 awarded this year there were four projects in which researchers from the Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) participate, two as leaders and two as collaborators.

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Vall d'Hebron identifies an effective therapeutic strategy against a subtype of melanoma currently with no treatment

Melanoma is a complex and heterogeneous disease in which the response to treatment is limited, especially in some tumor subtypes. A study led by the Biomedical Research in Melanoma group at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR) identified a strategy that improves the response of melanoma cells to an existing treatment. The study, published in Nature Communications, has been carried out in collaboration with the Dermatology Department of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, the Breast Cancer and Melanoma group of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili (IISPV).

READ THE FULL ARTICLE LA SEXTA

eCORE

Global Health

The aim of this eCORE is the study of those diseases that have a global impact in society. The groups will promote research diseases that affect a large number of people in order to improve society’s well-being and public health.

568

PUBLICATIONS

6,569

IMPACT FACTOR

11.57

AVERAGE IMPACT FACTOR

59.9

%Q1

Brain & Mind and Behaviour

Research groups affiliated to this eCORE are focused on the study of diseases affecting the brain, mind and/or behaviour. These clinical conditions have a high personal, social and economic burden, leading to disability and reducing quality and life.

317

PUBLICATIONS

3,455

IMPACT FACTOR

10.90

AVERAGE IMPACT FACTOR

56.5

%Q1

Cancer

The aim of the Cancer eCORE is to improve the outcome and quality of life of cancer patients. Cancer eCORE directs its efforts to unveil and understand the mechanisms of the cancer origin and progression. The ultimate goal is to translate this knowledge into new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic solutions. Our bench to bed comprehensive research includes the generation of relevant disease models, biomarker studies, drug development and clinical trials.

304

PUBLICATIONS

2,361

IMPACT FACTOR

7.77

AVERAGE IMPACT FACTOR

57.6

%Q1

Personalised Medicine, Innovative Diagnostics, Molecular Imaging & Digital Health

Being the largest, the objective of this eCORE is the development of new diagnostic tools and the promotion of personalized medicine based or not on digital health through the use of molecular imaging and other medical imaging technologies, biochemistry, pharmacy, pathology anatomy, omics data and related disciplines.

751

PUBLICATIONS

6,850

IMPACT FACTOR

9.12

AVERAGE IMPACT FACTOR

57.4

%Q1

Partners and Acknowledgements

In this section we want to thank the support of the board of trustees and other governing bodies, the entities that have placed their trust in us by financing research projects, as well as all the citizens and patient’s associations because through their private donations they contribute to providing research funds. And, finally, to the patients and their families for their generosity in helping us on a day-to-day basis, whether in defining our mission, placing themselves at the center of research since they are the first to benefit, either as volunteers in the clinical trials.