The Daniel Bravo Andreu Private Foundation awards a grant to Alexandra Pons, from the BIO-HEART research group

Thanks to the grant, the researcher from IDIBELL and the Bellvitge University Hospital will be able to carry out a research stay at the London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.

Alexandra Pons_web

The Daniel Bravo Andreu Private Foundation has awarded three grants for short stays of biomedical research in prestigious centers abroad, among which the scholarship to Alexandra Pons of the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) to go to the Royal Brompton Hospital. The other two awardees are Jean-Baptiste Guichard from Hospital Clínic Barcelona and Maria Inmaculada Villanueva from Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF).



Early diagnosis of cardiotoxicity in cancer patients


Alexandra Pons is a physician specializing in heart failure and oncocardiology in the Cardiology Service of the HUB and the Cardio-Oncology Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) and a researcher in the Cardiovascular Diseases Research Group (BIO-HEART) of IDIBELL. Currently, she is carrying out her doctorate at the University of Barcelona (UB).


Pons has chosen to spend nine months at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, of the British National Health Service (NHS), to carry out the project “Clinical impact of early detection of cardiotoxicity using Fast Strain-Encoded Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy”.


There are several oncological treatments that can be toxic to the myocardium and cause ventricular dysfunction and heart failure in patients. The objective of the project funded by the Daniel Bravo Andreu Private Foundation is to know if myocardial strain (MyoStrain) in cardiac magnetic resonance (cMRI) is a good method to make diagnoses in the initial stages and monitor cardiotoxicity in cancer patients.


“We know that cMRI is a good tool for the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiotoxicity, with an increase in sensitivity compared to echocardiography. If we can demonstrate that the use of MyoStrain in cMRI is capable of diagnosing cardiotoxicity in subclinical phases, it will be a great advance since it will allow cardioprotective treatment to be started early with a probable positive impact on the patients’ prognosis,” explains Josep Comín, head of the BIO-HEART group and mentor of Alexandra Pons.


“After completing my residency in cardiology, I have been focused on the field of cardio-oncology with the desire to improve the prognosis of cancer patients and participate in the present and future scientific development of this expanding field. The Daniel Bravo Scholarship is a unique opportunity to collaborate with a pioneering center” highlights Alexandra Pons.


Her mentor at the Royal Brompton Hospital will be Dr. Alexander Lyon, honorary consultant cardiologist and director of the Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital.


The other two scholarships have been awarded to Jean-Baptiste Guichard, cardiac electrophysiologist and postdoctoral researcher in the Arrhythmia Unit of the Hospital Clínic, who will spend his stay at Imperial College London; and the physics and biomedical computing engineer Maria Inmaculada Villanueva, from the Department of Information and Communications Technologies at UPF, who will spend four months at the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan.



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).

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