2014 September 5

Inauguration of the Campus Clinic-UB

On the 5 September Josep Carreras invited Barcelona dignitaries to join him to celebrate the opening of one of the three planned campuses of the institute in Barcelona.

The Campus Clinic-UB is itself on a huge campus in the centre of Barcelona, which houses the world-famous Clinic Hospitalthe August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Barcelona Faculty of Medicine amongst others institutions.

 

The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) will have several laboratories on the site in the Faculty of Medicine; the largest being that of Pablo Menéndez, who is funded by a prestigious ICREA grant and leads the Stem cells, mesenchymal cancer and development group. The In line with its policy, the institute is setting up laboratories close to large teaching hospitals and for the Campus Clinic-UB it has signed agreements with the Faculty of Medicine, investing in shared facilities and encouraging synergies.

In a touching and personal speech, Josep Carreras, who is Doctor honoris causa of the University of Barcelona, described the day as an emotional return to the Hospital Clinic Campus, where he was initially treated for leukaemia himself in the late 1980s. He spoke of how his life in Barcelona has always centred around four points: Sants (his home neighbourhood), the Liceu Opera House, Camp Nou (home to Barcelona Football Club) and the Clinic Hospital.   It has long been his dearest ambition to return something to repay the wonderful care he received and he spoke of his joy and pride and heartfelt thanks to all the authorities that had made it possible.

For his part, Dr Álvaro Urbano, Coordinator of the Campus Clínic-UB for the Institute spoke of the huge change in research into leukaemia in recent years. He made mention of  how, in the past, doctors treated the illness without knowing the underlying causes and how, with laboratories such as the new one being opened, scientists would unpick the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. Dr Urbano explained how treatments are more often being applied in function of the these mechanisms and the need for institutes such as this to combine all stages of the pipeline from bench to bedside.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, a medical doctor who qualified at the University of Barcelona, had altered his busy schedule to join the celebration. He stressed his long admiration for Josep Carreras who stands for excellence in all his endeavors.   Dr Trias reminded all those present that as well as an Olympic city and top tourist destination known for its culture, Barcelona is a city of social welfare and healthcare, which represent both valuable social assets and an economic driving force in the city.

For his part the Dean of Medicine of the University of Barcelona celebrated the historical legacy in Haematology care and research at the Faculty and the tremendous contribution of Prof. Ciril Rozman, Dr Carreras's physician and mentor, who was also present at the event. He highlighted his joy at this work being continued by the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute on the faculty premises.

For the Generalitat of Catalonia Dr Carles Constante, Director General of Planning and Health Research for the Ministry of Health, and Antoni Castellà, Secretary for Universities and Research in the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, both congratulated the Josep Carreras Foundation for setting up the Institute and building the laboratories of the Campus Clinic-UB.   Dr Constante stressed how, with the dire economic conditions in Spain as a whole, in Catalonia research has not increased in recent years, but very importantly neither has it decreased. He insisted on the importance of joint ventures, such as the IJC, where private institutions such as the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation worked hand in hand with the government. Mr Castellá added that it was totally legitimate to set up independently, if you had the means, but having proved able to do it working closely with government institutions, the IJC has strengthened the Hospital Clinic, the University of Barcelona and Spanish research in general.

The Campus ICO-Germans Trias on the Can Ruti Campus in Badalona is also working with IJC staff working on projects in conjunction with the Haematoloy Department of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) at the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital Haematology Department. A new building is under construction on the site. The third campus is planned on the campus of the Hospital Sant Pau i Santa Cruz in Barcelona.