2012 July 7

Laying of the first stone of the new Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute

The first stone of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) was laid today at a simple ceremony.

The symbolic stone, containing an engraved box, was laid by the Honorable Arthur Mas, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Josep Carreras and President of both the Foundation and the Institute that bear his name.  Also participating were Xavier Albiol, Mayor of Badalona, the Honorable Boí Ruiz, Minister of Health for Catalonia and the act was led by Prof. Evarist Feliu, Vice-President of the Josep Carreras Foundation and President of the Management Commission of the new institute.

The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute represents a new level of commitment of the Josep Carreras Foundation to research into leukemias and other malignant blood diseases.  For nearly 25 years the foundation has worked tirelessly with two primary focuses.  Firstly the improvement of patients' and their families' lives through the organization of the Spanish Bone Marrow Donors' Register and the provision of social services, such as accommodation, to help patients and families.     Secondly, the Foundation has funded research grants and projects around the world.   This investment in research will now be consolidated with the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, which will bring together, in the Barcelona area, many groups of scientists, initially organized into five major research lines for the main groups of pathologies considered to be leukemias and other malignant diseases of the blood.  There will also be transversal lines of research including improvement of diagnostics, reduction of side effects in therapy and improvement in transplant techniques, amongst others.  The objective of the institute is to address all aspects of the disease, while always focusing on the needs of the patient.  Clinicians will work in tandem with research scientists to tackle the many unsolved problems involved in diagnosing, treating and curing leukemias and associated complications.

The IJC will invest teams of scientists and shared facilities.  It will have groups carrying out research on two campuses, and plans to add a third soon.  The new building on the campus of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital will provide laboratories for the IJC ICO/Trias i Pujol Campus. Scientists on this campus are already working in other buildings on the campus.   The second campus will be in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona.

The IJC represents a commitment to invest 14 million euros in the first two campuses by the Josep Carreras Foundation.  The "la Caixa" Foundation is also contributing to building the institute with the aim of encouraging world class research in the region.  The Catalan autonomous government has also pledged to fund part of the overheads through its prestigious CERCA program.

The architect in charge of the project explained that the first stone is symbolic.  The engraved box, on a stone plinth contains various objects placed there during the ceremony including ribbons embroidered with patients' wishes.   The stone will be temporarily stored, as the first phase of the building is excavation for the lower levels.  We will be able to view the first stone in the entrance to the new building when it opens.