FECYT contributes to international cooperation in inmunotherapy against cancer
On November 4, the event "International Cooperation in Immunotherapy for Cancer" was held at the Spanish Embassy in Berlin. The event, organized by FECYT in collaboration with the Cultural Office of the Embassy in Germany and framed within the Berlin Science Week, brought together medical groups from Spain and Germany who work in clinical research in leukemia. The event, inaugurated by Ambassador Pablo García-Berdoy, began with a brief review of the history of cooperation in scientific matters between Spain and Germany, which just turned 100 years ago.
Afterwards, Dr. Guillermo Orts, the scientific coordinator of the FECYT at the Embassy of Spain in Berlin, presented the invited speakers: Dr. Manel Juan Otero and Álvaro Urbano from the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Professor Evarist Feliu, Vice-President of the Josep Carreras Leukemia Foundation, Professor Michael Schmitt and Dr. Maria-Luisa Schubert, both from the Heidelberg University Hospital.
Dr. Manel Juan Otero began the presentation session introducing a pioneering project of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona: CAR therapy against leukemia. This therapy, based on boosting the immune system of leukemia patients with gene modification of their lymphocytes, is not yet available in Europe. However, results obtained by other groups in the US indicate that it could become as effective a treatment for leukemia patients as bone marrow transplantation, but without its side effects. It is recalled that currently, between 20 and 40% of leukemia patients die after this type of transplantation.
Doctors Schmitt and Schubert later recounted the experience in Heidelberg in immunotherapy against cancer and the advances that have been made over the last twenty years. The German researchers also highlighted the high quality and potential of CAR therapy to treat different types of cancers and their willingness to work together with Spanish groups in this area.
The following presentation was made by Professor Evarist Feliu, Vice-President of the Josep Carreras Foundation and Director of the Carreras Research Institute, who presented the history of these institutions, their predisposition to continue with the fight against cancer and their support for innovative therapies such as CAR. Finally, Prof. Álvaro Urbano thanked the support of FECYT and the Embassy in this very fruitful event and recalled the transcendental importance of national and international cooperation in research.
Following the presentations, the guests had the opportunity to dialogue with many of the almost 100 attendees, including many researchers from the Charité Clinical University in Berlin. With this event, FECYT continues in its activities to support the internationalization of Spanish science and international cooperation.
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