Finding treatments to stop the neurodegenerative component, the main cause of the disability caused by multiple sclerosis; developing effective techniques for tissue regeneration to recover the neurological functions affected by the disease and detecting biological markers to anticipate the prognosis at the individual level are three of the main areas of research that starred in a conference at the University Hospital of Bellvitge (HUB) on the occasion of World Multiple Sclerosis Day, which is celebrated on May 30.
The Neurological Diseases and Neurogenetics research group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Multiple Sclerosis Unit of the Neurology Service of the HUB have co-organized this day to explain the new advances achieved in the approach and search of the disease and to give voice to patients, so that they also provide solutions to the impact of MS in their daily lives and become fully active in their self-care. As Dr. Sergio Martínez Yélamos, head of the Multiple Sclerosis Unit at Bellvitge Hospital and principal investigator at IDIBELL, explains, “by giving a voice to multiple sclerosis patients and sharing treatments, experiences of adaptation and resilience in the face of the disease we are empowering them to make the best informed choices in a care model based on shared decisions”.
In recent years, great therapeutic advances have been made against the inflammatory component of multiple sclerosis thanks to new pharmacological treatments. The incorporation of new drugs in the therapeutic registry of multiple sclerosis, especially anti-CD20 drugs (which eliminate B lymphocytes in the blood), has made it possible to reduce both disease outbreaks and the appearance of new lesions on MRI scans by 80% to 90%. It should be noted that the Multiple Sclerosis Unit of the HUB has participated in the international clinical trials that have facilitated the approval of these new drugs.
The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).