IBEC projects awarded Marato 2017 funding

Projects led by IBEC group leader Xavier Fernandez-Busquets and Associated Researcher Antonio Juarez have received funds from 2017’s La Marató de TV3 fundraising campaign.

These and 34 other winning projects were announced at an awards ceremony tonight at the Academia de Ciencias Médicas de Cataluña y Baleares in Barcelona of the 2017 edition of the telethon, which was dedicated to infectious diseases.

La Marató de TV3, together with Catalunya Ràdio, broadcasts its annual telethon to raise funds for scientific research into various diseases with a different theme each year. The 2017 edition of La Marató ran from December 17th until March 31st and raised €9,758,075 for the 36 projects and 55 teams awarded.

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Nanomalaria joint unit group leader Xavier Fernandez-Busquets’ project, ‘Coated liposome nanocomplexes as drug delivery systems for treatment of leishmaniasis’, will develop innovative, biocompatible nanocarriers able to carry drugs specifically to leishmaniasis-infected cells. At the moment, drugs administered for this poverty-related parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies have limited efficacy and side effects. Xavier’s project – which will be carried out with collaborators at the UB and the Universtiy of Cagliari – will design delivery systems that help to reduce the toxicity of the drugs by requiring smaller doses and targeting only the infected areas.

University of Barcelona Full Professor Antonio Juarez’s project is entitled ‘A novel approach to combat antibiotic resistance: targeting antigenic proteins coded by resistance plasmids’. “We’ve identified a protein that is encoded by a group of plasmids of great importance in the transmission of antibiotic resistance. It’s a surface protein, and we think it can be antigenic,” he explains. “We propose a new strategy to combat both the spread of antibiotic resistance and infections caused by resistant bacteria that have such plasmids: vaccination and, where appropriate, immunotherapy.”

The opening committee at tonight’s ceremony was made up of Elsa Artadi, Councillor of the Presidency of the Generalitat of Catalonia; Laura Pelay, Secretary General of the Department of Health; Núria Llorach, vice president of the Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals and the Board of Trustees of the La Marató de TV3 Foundation; Dolors Sintes, Vice President of the Academia de Ciencias Médicas de Cataluña y Baleares; Lluís Bernabé, director of the La Marató de TV3 Foundation; and Albert Barberà, General Director of Research and Innovation of the Department of Health and coordinator of the Scientific Advisory Committee. The journalist Xavi Abad, director of La Marató de TV3’s 2017 programme, was master of ceremonies.

The 2018 edition of La Marató will be dedicated to raising money for cancer projects, and will launch on 16th December 2018.