• The biochemist Joan Gil and the pharmaceutical company ADVANCELL have received the I Valdés Salas Prize of Applied Biomedicine

    June 08, 2011

    His scientific work about the use of the Acadesine Molecule for the treatment of leukaemia and the lymphomas of B cells obtained the jury's unanimous acclaim, which was chaired by Carlos López-Otín.

    Valdés- Salas I prize for Applied Biomedicine

    "An exceptional work which is an excellent example of what it can be done from a Spanish public university". That's how the jury, chaired by the professor of Molecular Biochemistry and Biology of the University of Oviedo, Carlos López Otín, describes the scientific labour of Joan Gil, Catalonian researcher awarded with the I Prize of the Valdés-Salas Foundation. This award, co-sponsored by Bayer Pharmaceutical Company, COFAS and Farmaindustria, is trying to promote the transfer of knowledge and it awards not only the researcher but the company which has applied the results of his/ her research to improve the efficiency in the production processes of those items already created or in the development of new products.

    Joan Gil Santano, Professor of Molecular Biochemistry and Biology of the Physiological Sciences Department of the University of Barcelona and Researcher of the Research Institute of Bellvitge (IBIDELL), is the main responsible of the scientific work which has permitted the development of new strategies for the treatment of leukaemia and type B lymphomas. His research group, in collaboration with ADVANCELL Company, has developed an experimental labour around a molecule called Acadesine which has passed successfully all the clinic test for the treatment of lymphocytic leukaemia. 25 patients, who are being treated with this substance, are currently taking part in the project.

    Acadesine is a molecule that is takes part in the cell's death process or apoptosis, boosting the elimination of those tumour cells which can resist this process, more specifically to leukaemia and lymphomas' cells and respecting the normal cells of this same environment.

    This "excellence scientist, with an extraordinary national and international prestige, represents in a maximum level the university values that we defend and look for" as López-Otín explained, he has been one of the first Spanish scientist committed with the research of medicines that induced to tumour cells' death. After more than ten years developing this kind of projects, his research group have analyzed the effect of more than 300 components in the apoptosis of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia's cells as well as other tumour cells, studying the molecular mechanisms implied and the routes and networks for the transduction of signs related to the CLL survival cells. The results have been published in about 70 scientific articles and they have allowed the presentation of 3 patents of new anti-tumour medicines.

    This prize, as López-Otín clarifies, is trying to award the scientific process from its earliest stage to its highest development, awarding both the work of the research team and the enterprise that "supports an university project" and is in charge of getting the necessary funding to execute a clinic test, facing "an economical risk that nor a researcher nor a university can assume".

    On the other hand, the rector of the University of Oviedo and member of the jury, Vicente Gotor, confirmed López-Otín's words, congratulated Valdés Foundation for having created this prize which proves "how a good basic research is essential and can lead to an important success in applied research".

    This prize, which is provided with 15.000 Euros and a diploma for the researcher, will be given the next 4th of July of 2011 in an event at the University of Oviedo which will be attended by the Research secretary of State, Felipe Pétriz.