Spain's first research centre specialising in immunology
Unravelling the immune system to resolve the most important health challenges
The CaixaResearch Institute will be dedicated to studying how the immune system works when it interacts with the most prevalent pathologies, such as neurological, oncological and infectious diseases, as well as analysing related environmental factors.
The centre will carry out its own research which will prioritise a multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the development of cutting-edge technologies and the transfer of results to society. Research will be key to advance our knowledge and understanding of how the immune system works and the role it plays in global health and in infectious, oncological and neurological diseases.
Why focus on immunology?
The future centre, which will open in Barcelona, will be the first in Spain and one of the first in Europe to focus specifically on immunology, employing a multi-focus approach that includes the different scientific disciplines and technologies involved in the study of the system immune. It will also pay particular attention to innovation and the transfer of results to society.
The immune system is not only our first line of defence against classic pathogens such as viruses and bacteria but also a system that detects other harmful agents from both inside and outside our bodies. Our T and B cell receptors (the guards in our immune system) maintain a living memory of all the viruses, bacteria and other molecules they've already come across in our body and which produce an internal reaction that activates our defence mechanisms. This precise detection system can help us differentiate our own cells from everything else, making it a candidate for developing target treatments against malfunctioning cells, such as cancer cells, viruses and bacteria, among others.
A firm commitment to research
In 2021, ”la Caixa” Foundation, under its President Isidro Fainé, allocated more than 36 million euros to research and innovation projects in biomedicine and health that are carried out at research centres, universities and hospitals in Spain and Portugal, where the institution collaborates with more than a hundred organisations, either by giving structural support or aid to research projects. This new centre therefore consolidates and strengthens ”la Caixa” Foundation's support for cutting edge research and innovation in Spain and Portugal.
Last year alone, researchers supported by CaixaResearch - the Research and Health branch of ”la Caixa” Foundation - produced nearly 1,100 indexed scientific publications. Moreover, in the area of transferring knowledge to the world of business, 12 new biomedical firms were created and 21 patents were registered.