Barcelona Takes First Step in Establishing First Immunology Research Center in Spain
Barcelona is one step closer to becoming home to the first research center specialized in immunology in Spain and one of the first in Europe. On Tuesday, the groundbreaking ceremony for the CaixaResearch Institute took place, attended by Barcelona Mayor Jaume Collboni, the president of the “la Caixa” Foundation Isidre Fainé, and the director of the scientific project Josep Tabernero.
With an investment of nearly 100 million euros provided by the “la Caixa” Foundation, the institute aims to become an international reference in scientific research in the field of immunology. It will primarily focus on studying the immune system’s interaction with common diseases such as neurological, oncological, and infectious diseases, as well as analyzing environmental factors that influence the immune system.
During the ceremony, Tabernero emphasized that immunology is the cornerstone of modern biomedicine. Immunotherapy, a medical treatment that aims to strengthen and direct the body’s natural defense system against infections and diseases, has already proven effective in treating certain types of cancer and autoimmune diseases. It has also played a crucial role in developing the latest messenger RNA vaccines, including those for COVID-19.
Tabernero further highlighted the complexity of immunology as a discipline that requires continuous investigation. Currently, only 25% of cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy, indicating the need for further advancement to treat a wider range of patients. The CaixaResearch Institute will provide scientific teams with state-of-the-art tools, cutting-edge technology, and a first-class research environment to drive progress in this direction.
The “la Caixa” Foundation aims to position Barcelona and Spain at the forefront of immunology research by attracting top-level international talent. Leading expert Dr. Antoni Ribas has been appointed as the president of the entity’s advisory committee. Once the institute becomes operational in 2025, it is projected to have at least 500 professionals, including scientists, technical, and administrative staff, with a capacity for 700 people.
The center is being built on a plot in front of the Cosmocaixa, near the Ronda de Dalt in Barcelona. As part of the ceremony, representatives of the institutions involved placed historical objects in a time capsule, symbolizing the beginning of a new era in medical research.
Mayor Jaume Collboni expressed gratitude for Barcelona being chosen for this project, emphasizing the importance of research for a country’s development. He emphasized the need for a progressive government in Spain to ensure the continued advancement of science and to attract investments that reinforce Barcelona’s scientific capital status.
Isidre Fainé, president of the “la Caixa” Foundation, highlighted the groundbreaking as a milestone in the history of research in Spain. He expressed confidence that by uniting efforts and promoting innovative solutions, the center will contribute to addressing the significant health challenges facing society.
The CaixaResearch Institute is poised to put Barcelona on the map as a leading hub for immunology research, bringing together top talent and cutting-edge resources to drive advancements in healthcare.