El Hospital del Mar y el GRIB participan en los proyectos EHDEN Pilot y EHDEN COVID-19 Rapid Collaboration

El objetivo principal del proyecto europeo EHDEN: European Health Data & Evidence Network, es la realización de análisis de datos clínicos a gran escala en Europa (Real-World Clinical Data), mediante la utilización de herramientas bioinformáticas y estándares basados en la iniciativa internacional OHDSI y OMOP common data model (CDM). EHDEN permitirá acelerar la realización de los estudios y la investigación relativos a la caracterización de los pacientes con COVID-19 y otras patologías, así como evaluar los mejores tratamientos y gestión clínica de estos pacientes, con la utilización de millones de historias clínicas en Europa. Los dos proyectos en que participa el Hospital del Mar y el GRIB están liderados por el Dr. Robert Güerri, coordinador de la Unidad COVID-19 del Servicio de Infeccionas del Hospital del Mar e investigador del Grupo de investigación en patología infecciosa y antimicrobianos del Instituto Hospital del Mar de Investigaciones Médicas (IMIM) y por el Dr. Miguel-Angel Mayer del GRIB Integrative Biomedical Informatics Group (IMIM-UPF). "EHDEN nos ofrece la posibilidad de trabajar de forma colaborativa, con herramientas bioinformáticas muy potentes para el análisis y la integración masiva de datos de fuentes muy diversas, algo que es esencial y que puede ayudar a combatir esta pandemia y salvar vidas" explica Mayer.

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Two GRIB innovations developed in the framework of the eTRANSAFE project, acknowledged by the European Commission’s Innovation Radar

The Innovation Radar, a European Commission initiative to identify high potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and innovation framework programmes, has selected two innovations developed by the GRIB in the project eTRANSAFE, to be included on the Innovation Radar platform: the preclinical text mining solution for treatment response and the Advanced in silico modelling to predict toxicity.

These innovations, developed by the Integrative Bioinformatics group  and the PharmacoInformatics group of GRIB (IMIM - UPF) stemming from the project work, have been classified by the Innovation Radar as Exploring innovations in the early phases of technological readiness and have been published on the EU-funded innovations website on July 20th 2020, thus joining the 3600+ EU-funded innovations already showcased on the platform.

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New tool for studying key drug targets

The results from this study, published in Nature Methods, can support the development of new drugs fighting Alzheimer’s disease or cancer

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRS) are one of the key elements mediating basic stimuli like our response to mosquito bites or to this last-minute goal scored by our favorite football team. In fact, these proteins are the target of almost 40% of the currently approved drugs. However, until now, researchers did not have access to a tool employing molecular simulations to achieve a better understanding of GPCR function.

Therefore, a consortium of researchers from 23 different institutions of 10 different European countries and the United States have joined forces to design and build a tool that will help improve our understanding of the function of these receptors, which are responsible of transmitting signals to the interior of cells. The GPCRmd platform is the result of this work, lead and coordinated by the GPCR Drug Discovery group of GRIB (IMIM - UPF), and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, with support from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Dr. Jana Selent, head of the GPCR group at GRIB and main corresponding author of this study explains: "we have used state-of-the-art technology that requires highly specific knowledge, like molecular simulations, to build an online resource where scientists from different disciplines can easily inspect and analyze a comprehensive set of molecular simulations of GPCRs". This will allow, according to Dr. Ramon Guixà-González, postdoctoral researcher at PSI in Switzerland and co-corresponding author of this study, "to extract information that will be helpful in the study and development of new drugs targeting diseases as relevant as cancer or Alzheimer's disease". Other relevant authors of this study are Ismael Rodríguez Espigares and Mariona Torrens Fontanals, postdoctoral and predoctoral researchers at the GRIB.

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GRIB participates in the Disc4All Project, an innovative training network of the European Commission

It is one of the ten projects selected in Catalonia as Innovative Training Network (ITN) Marie Sklodowska-Curie

Ferran Sanz, Laura I. Furlong and Baldo Oliva will participate in the Disc4All project: Training network to advance integrated computational simulations in translational medicine, applied to intervertebral disc degeneration, coordinated by Jérôme Noailly, principal investigator in the Biomechanics and Mechanobiology research area at BCN MedTech of UPF. It is one of the ten selected projects in Catalonia as an Innovative Training Network (ITN) Marie Sklodowska-Curie, in the European Commission's ITN MSC Actions call.

The European innovative training networks (ITN) aim to train a new generation of researchers in their early stages who are creative, enterprising and innovative, capable of dealing with the challenges of the future and turn knowledge and ideas into products and services with an economic and a social benefit. ITN programmes within the framework of the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions support joint competitive programmes for training in research or joint doctorates. These programmes will be implemented by partnerships of universities, research centres, businesses, SMEs and other stakeholders in Europe and the rest of the world.

As part of this project, the GRIB will train young researchers in the tools available to analyze genomic data (DisGeNET) and comorbidities (comoRbidity). DisGeNET is a public knowledge management platform that offers information on genes and genomic variants associated with human diseases, which is obtained by integrating data from more than a dozen public resources and the scientific literature It contains one of the most comprehensive collections of genes and variants associated with human diseases that is currently available. On the other hand comoRbidity, is a program designed to provide a systematic and complete analysis of the comorbidities of the disease from both a clinical and molecular perspective.

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The version 7.0 of DisGeNET is now available and includes the creation of a new resource for COVID-19

DisGeNET is a public knowledge management platform that offers information on genes and genomic variants associated with human diseases

The GRIB Integrative Biomedical Informatics group (IMIM-UPF) has launched a new version of DisGeNET (version 7.0, May 8, 2020), which contains more than 1 million associations between 21,000 genes and 30,000 diseases, and 350,000 associations involving more than 190,000 genomic variants. All the data sources have been updated including the information automatically extracted by text mining of the literature. In addition, a new resource focused on COVID-19 has also been created.

DisGeNET is a public knowledge management platform that offers information on genes and genomic variants associated with human diseases, which is obtained by integrating data from more than a dozen public resources and the scientific literature. DisGeNET contains one of the most comprehensive collections of genes and variants associated with human diseases that is currently available and is a resource for sharing and exchanging information recommended by the ELIXIR project, which is called, ELIXIR Recommended Interoperability Resource.

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Chemotargets opens an investment round to enter a new phase of growth

Chemotargets, a global leader in predictive analytics solutions for the pharma and biotech sector, founded in 2006 by Jordi Mestres, head of the Systems Pharmacology group of GRIB, begins a phase of transformation to become a biotechnology company that will develop new medicines in multiple therapeutic areas, with an initial focus on oncology, opening an investment round to undertake the transformation of its business model.

"We are very motivated to begin a new stage of growth and to discover new bioactive molecules in collaboration with public research centres and pharmaceuticals companies. On this basis, we will consider the creation of new spin-off entities that will discover and develop new potential drugs," says Jordi Mestres, Chemotargets CEO and Head of the Systems Pharmacology Group. The company has developed the ProSurfScan technology, which allows the generation of bioactive molecules using state-of-the-art structure-based, artificial intelligence and data-mining methods for novel therapeutic targets and new interaction modalities (protein - protein, allosteric modulators, etc.).

The health and social crisis caused by SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has encouraged the company to pursue its principles: "We founded Chemotargets to resolve complex biomedical challenges and we have an obligation to join efforts to find solutions to this major challenge," says Jordi Mestres.

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El Departamento de Salud financia dos proyectos presentados por el GRIB en la convocatoria contra el Coronavirus

Uno de los proyectos financiados está liderado por la Dra. Jana Selent, coordinadora del Grupo de investigación en descubrimiento de fármacos basados en receptores acoplados a proteínas G, y lleva por título "Doble estrategia para inhibir el ciclo infeccioso de SARS-CoV-2". El objetivo del proyecto es el análisis masivo de posibles fármacos que impidan la entrada del SARS-CoV-2 a la célula humana mediante modelos 3D computacionales y ensayos celulares. Se trata de identificar medicamentos antivirales que interfieran con el ciclo infeccioso del SARS-CoV2, bloqueando dos fases diferentes de la entrada del virus en la célula. El grupo intenta acelerar el descubrimiento de fármacos antivirales mediante la estrategia de "drug re-profiling" que permite reasignar medicamentos ya existentes para el tratamiento de Covid-19. La fuerza del proyecto reside en un enfoque multidisciplinar, desde la biología computacional y estructural hasta la validación experimental en células, combinada con una doble estrategia de descubrimiento de fármacos. El proyecto cuenta con la colaboración de la empresa suiza InterAx Biotech liderado por la Dra. Maria Waldhoer. El progreso del proyecto se puede seguir aquí

Por otra parte, la Dra. Lara Nonell, de la Unidad MarGenomics asociada al GRIB, participará en otro de los proyectos financiados que lleva por título "Dinámica del perfilado e identificación de expresiones génicas de pacientes de alto riesgo para Covid-19 grave" que estará liderado por el Dr. Jordi Carratalà del Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL) y cuyo objetivo es determinar el perfil transcriptómico dinámico del paciente adulto hospitalizado por Covid-19 y caracterizar el subgrupo que desarrolla la enfermedad grave. 

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“Ajudarem a millorar el diagnòstic i tractament de malalties”

Llegeix l'entrevista a Ferran Sanz, Director del GRIB, al ESCI news de la UPF, on ens explica DisGeNET, una base de dades que lliga gens amb malalties i quina relació hi ha entre DisGeNET i l'empresa que ha llençat amb un grup de científics, MedBioinformatics Solutions, per ajudar empreses del sector sanitari en el desenvolupament de tractaments adaptats a la genètica de cada pacient.

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Congratulations to Miguel-Angel Mayer for his appointment as a member of the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences Expert Working Group

Miguel-Angel Mayer, member of IBI group of the GRIB, has been invited to join the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) XIII Expert Working Group. CIOMS is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization established jointly by the World Health Organisation and UNESCO in 1949. CIOMS mission is to advance public health through guidance on health research including ethics, medical product development and safety. There is increasing interest in the use of Real-World data (RWD) to support regulatory decision making across products life cycle. Electronic health records, claims data, prescription data, and patient registries are some of the most important resources of RWD. Real-world evidence (RWE) is the clinical evidence about the usage and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from an analysis of RWD. CIOMS has proposed the development of a consensus report and recommendations for the use of RWD and RWE in regulatory decision-making related to biopharmaceutical products. Miguel-Angel Mayer said: "I am honoured to join CIOMS and work on this RWD/RWE consensus report and the opportunity to collaborate with the most important world experts in this field".

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Congratulations to Judith Pérez Granado for winning the Barcelona Science Slam

Last 22nd of February, the 7th Edition of the Barcelona Science Slam took place. For those who don't know, a science slam is a scientific communication contest where scientists explain their research projects in 5 minutes in an engaging, fun and clear way. PhD students and postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to join the experience and bring their research closer to the public. Judith Pérez Granado, PhD student at the Integrative Biomedical Informatics Group of GRIB, presented her PhD thesis project and was the winner of this Slam. She said: "To me, it was a pleasure to present my science in a fun and simple way so it could reach everyone. It made me even see my research from another perspective. To anyone that would like to participate, I would encourage him/her to do so. It is a great experience!"​. Here you are the video of the presentation.

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