The Balearic Islands Health Research Institute obtains 1.4 million euros from Carlos III to advance tumour research and precision medicine.

Feb 10, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The project will enable the acquisition of imaging equipment that is unique in Spain.

Researchers from other regions will be able to stay at the Institute to use its infrastructure

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The Balearic Islands Health Research Institute (IdISBa) has obtained 1.4 million euros from the Carlos III Health Institute to acquire innovative technological imaging equipment that will allow it to analyse tissues on a molecular scale, facilitate the identification of tumours and advance towards personalised medicine. The funding will be used not only to incorporate the infrastructure, which will be unique in Spain but also to carry out a mobility programme so that researchers from other institutions can use it. It will be located at the Son Espases University Hospital.

The Balearic Islands Health Research Institute

The funds have been obtained in the competitive call for unique scientific infrastructures of the National Health System of the Carlos III Health Institute, within the State Sub-programme for Scientific and Technical Infrastructures and Equipment of the Strategic Action in Health 2021-2023, charged to the European funds of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

IdISBa was one of only three accredited health research institutes selected in the framework of this call, together with the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias and the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Universitario La Princesa in Madrid.

The equipment awarded to IdISBa, which will be the only one of its kind in Spain, positions the Institute as one of the leading centres in Spain in molecular imaging by mass spectrometry (a microanalytical technique that allows the composition of molecules to be determined), and contributes to placing the Balearic Islands in a privileged position on an international scale for the implementation of these technologies in clinical routine.

Study of tumour imaging and drug distribution in tissues

A specific example of use is the study of the diversity between patients with the same type of cancer. With the equipment to be acquired, it will be possible to analyse slices of tumour tissue and establish distribution maps of biomolecules of interest, such as proteins or lipids. The images generated are similar to a relay map, in which colours indicate abundance or scarcity of a particular molecule. In each experiment, hundreds of different images will be generated simultaneously, one for each molecule detected.

Another application with great potential would be to study the distribution of drugs in tissues. By being able to obtain images practically at the cellular level, it will be possible to study whether, for example, a compound affects more of a particular cell type.

All these applications will help to develop the necessary knowledge so that, in combination with the quality clinical research carried out in our health system, precision medicine becomes an increasingly present reality in daily clinical routine.

Mobility programme

The incorporation of this equipment is part of a project that also includes the financing of a mobility programme to promote and facilitate the use of the singular infrastructure by different institutions through visits and training stays of the research and technical staff involved, with the aim of stimulating the exchange of scientific knowledge and good practices, and the establishment of stable collaboration alliances between these institutions.

The institutions included in the Mobility Programme are the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago, the University of Laguna, the Instituto de Biología y Genética Molecular de Castilla y León, the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Lleida, the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, the Instituto Maimónides de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba and the University of the Basque Country.

The scientific coordinator of this project, Dr. Gwendolyn Barceló, pointed out that this is a great opportunity to implement a world-leading technology in the Balearic Islands, which will attract and generate highly qualified research talent with knowledge that will be in great demand in the very near future. Moreover, both the uniqueness of the equipment and the wide network of national and international collaborations included in the proposal will allow IdISBa to actively participate in the development and advancement of technologies based on molecular imaging.

On the other hand, Dr. Miquel Fiol, scientific director of the IdISBa, was delighted that this award means the establishment, for the first time, of a unique infrastructure at the Institute, with the potential to consolidate the scientific leadership of the institution’s researchers and to promote the establishment of alliances and collaborations with other top-level health research centres.