The new Clinical Translational Program for Regenerative Medicine in Catalonia (P-CMR [C]), propelled by the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMR[B]) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), were officially presented this morning in their new facilities, set in the Duran i Reynals hospital. The event was chaired by the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, with Alba Vergés, Health minister of Catalonia, and Núria Marín, the mayor of Hospitalet de Llobregat.
A transversal program to accelerate translational research in regenerative medicine
The P-CMR[C] is born with the mission to develop high-level frontier research in regenerative medicine based on the use of pluripotent stem cells. Its creation, approved by government agreement in 2015, wants to capitalize CMR[B]’s position as a cohesive agent for stem cell research in Catalonia and, at the same time, catalyze the clinical translation of the research in regenerative medicine.
The leadership of this new program is assumed by Dr. Ángel Raya, the current director of CMR[B]. The program includes a clinical co-management that Dr. Antoni Bayés-Genís, clinical researcher at Germans Trias i Pujol Institute, will take responsibility for. This will consolidate the transversal orientation of the program and will strengthen the translation of the research to clinical practice.
"The P-CMR [C] has a unique mission, to accelerate the translation of strategies in regenerative medicine, and a dual vocation: to promote basic research of excellence and to become a unifying agent of all efforts to reach the clinical practice", said Dr. Raya. Research at P-CMR[C] will mainly focus in cardiac insufficiency, neurodegenerative diseases, non-malignant hematologic diseases and macular degeneration associated with aging.
A firm and stable commitment from the Catalan government and the Health department
President Torra has reaffirmed the government's support towards the new P-CMR[C], a long-term project. "We must be able to lay the foundations of a new knowledge revolution, and that is why we commit to Catalan research." "The impact of research on people's lives is a challenge for out country”, said Alba Vergés, who highlighted the "accelerating" nature of the new program. Dr. Gabriel Capellá, director of IDIBELL, underlined the "good fit of regenerative medicine within IDIBELL and Bellvitge Campus", complementing Mayor Núria Marín’s speech, who framed the new program within the biomedical microcluster project as an example of the "sustainable growth model that prioritizes citizens" that the city is currently following.
The attendees at the presentation have visited the P-CMR[C] facilities, located inside the Duran i Reynals hospital, in the frame of IDIBELL. The scientific and technical services of the CMR[B] and the Stem Cell Bank of Barcelona (BCL-B), the Catalan node of the National Stem Cell Bank (BNCL), are part of the program as well.
To integrate the P-CMR[C], IDIBELL has gone through a refurbishment of its space. The project has been funded by the Health Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the competitive co-financing from FEDER (ECO/1823/2015/ 2015 FEDER/S-19).
Collaborative network in advanced therapy research in Catalonia
The P-CMR[C] will create between 4 and 6 new research groups that will carry out their activity in the new facilities. Simultaneously, and due to the transversal nature of the program, it will also associate research groups from other institutions that work in the field of Regenerative Medicine in Catalonia.
In this sense, a first transversal action of the P-CMR[C] will be a call for expressions of interest for collaborative projects in regenerative medicine in Catalonia. The aim is to identify the relevant actors in the research fields of the P-CMR[C] and gather 10 teams interested in developing a joint project in regenerative medicine within the coming years.